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Vittore Cossalter Motorcycle Dynamics

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Dy namics

Second Edition

Vittore Cossalter

Importante notice

This book should not be seen as a guide for modifying, designing or manufacturing a motorcycle.

Anyone who uses it as such does so at his own risk and peril. Street testing motorcycles can be

dangerous. The author and publisher are not responsible for any damage caused by the use of any

information contained in this book.

All rights reserved. No part to this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any

means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage

and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.

Copyright 2006 by Vittore Cossalter

9781447532767

A cknow ledgment

I am deeply indebted particularly to Roberto Lot, Mauro Da Lio, Alberto Doria, who helped to make

this book possible.

This book was written thanks to the enthusiastic participation of PhD students of the Motorcycles

Engineering Course: Alessandro Bellati , Roberto Berritta, Francesco Biral, Daniele Bortoluzzi,

Mario Dalla Fontana, Giovanni Dalla Torre, Davide Fabris, Pasquale De Luca, Stefano Garbin,

Giuseppe Lisciani, Fabiano Maggio, Massimo Maso, Matteo Massaro, Luigi Mitolo, Martino Peretto,

Nicolay Ruffo, Jim Sadauckas, Mauro Salvador, Riccardo Toazza

Forew ord

In todays globalized and hyper-technological world all you have to do to buy a motorcycle is go

on-line and give your credit card number and youve got a motorcycle. However, this type of

transaction takes place without the emotions and special relationship which have always bound me to

motorcycles.

I remember watching my neighbor get his Parilla ready. Dressed in black leather, he would slowly

put his gloves on, push down on the pedal and finally drive off. As the motorcycle disappeared into

the distance I could hear the symphony created by its engine slowly fade away among the clouds:

mine was true passion.

It was the Sixties. There were the elegant and refined Mods with their shining scooters, and the

Rockers, both feared and respected, with their motorcycles. England was the homeland of

motorcycles. When I got off the ship in Dover, I remember seeing a group of motorcycles next to

some scooters. They were the wonderful English motorcycles of the Sixties and Seventies that left the

sign of their passing with drops of motor oil on the road wherever they went.

I immediately knew that I was a motorcyclist. As soon as I got home, I managed to buy an old

Guzzi Falcone 500. I worked all winter, every evening, to perfectly restore it. My desire to hear the

engine roar, to smell the air and to feel the wind blow across my cheeks drove me in my mission until

one day in early spring everything was ready. My Falcone never betrayed me, it always gave me

incomparable emotions. As I rode it, curve after curve, the engine pushed on almost as if it were a

hammer strong enough to forge any type of steel with violent blows of metal on metal.

This book is the result of this past and present passion of mine for motorcycles. I have tried to

offer a new approach to technical-scientific writing by combining the exact and often aseptic nature

of scientific discourse with my passion for this perfect vehicle. I realize that this is no small

challenge, but it is this very passion, of a man who feels more at ease on a motorcycle than behind a

desk, which has motivated my research in the field of motorcycles. Together with its thorough

technical discussion, this book also takes into account the fascinating history of the motorcycle and

motorcyclists. No business will ever be able to take away the adventuresome, and somewhat crazy,

nature of the motorcycle.

Vittore Cossalter

Padova, spring 2002

Table of Contents

Title Page

Importante notice

Copyright Page

Dedication

Acknowledgment

Foreword

1 Kinematics of Motorcycles

2 Motorcycle Tires

3 Rectilinear Motion of Motorcycles

4 Steady Turning

5 In-Plane Dynamics

6 Motorcycle Trim

7 Motorcycle Vibration - Modes and Stability

8 Motorcycle Maneuverability and Handling

List of symbols

References

Index

The kinematic study of motorcycles is important, especially in relation to its effects on the dynamic

behavior of motorcycles. Therefore, in this chapter, in addition to the kinematic study, some simple

examples of the dynamic behavior of motorcycles are reported in order to show how kinematic

peculiarities influence the directional stability and maneuverability of motorcycles.

1.1 De fi ni ti on of m otorcycl e s

Although motorcycles are composed of a great variety of mechanical parts, including some

complex ones, from a strictly kinematic point of view, by considering the suspensions to be rigid, a

motorcycle can be defined as simply a spatial mechanism composed of four rigid bodies:

the rear assembly (frame, saddle, tank and mtr-transmission drivetrain group),

the front assembly (the fork, the steering head and the handlebars),

the front wheel,

the rear wheel.

These rigid bodies are connected by three revolute joints (the steering axis and the two wheel axles)

and are in contact with the ground at two wheel/ground contact points as shown in Fig. 1-1.

Each revolute joint inhibits five degrees of freedom in the spatial mechanism, while each wheelground contact point leaves three degrees of freedom free. If we consider the hypothesis of the pure

rolling of tires on the road to be valid, it is easy to ascertain that each wheel, with respect to the fixed

road, can only rotate around:

the contact point on the wheel plane (forward motion),

the intersection axis of the motorcycle and road planes (roll motion),

the axis passing through the contact point and the center of the wheel (spin).

In conclusion, a motorcycles number of degrees of freedom is equal to 3, given that the 15

degrees of freedom inhibited by the 3 revolute joints and the 6 degrees of freedom eliminated by the

2 wheel-ground contact points must be subtracted from the 4 rigid bodies 24 degrees of freedom, as

summarized in Fig. 1-2.

A motorcycles three degrees of freedom may be associated with three principal motions:

forward motion of the motorcycle (represented by the rear wheel rotation);

roll motion around the straight line which joins the tire contact points on the road plane;

steering rotation.

While he drives, the rider manages all three major movements, according to his personal style and

skill: the resulting movement of the motorcycle and the corresponding trajectory (e.g. a curve)

depend on a combination, in the time domain, of the three motions related to the three degrees of

freedom. This generates one maneuver, among the thousands possible, which represents the personal

style of the driver.

These considerations have been formulated assuming that the tires move without slippage.

However, in reality, the tire movement is not just a rolling process.

The generation of longitudinal forces (driving and braking forces) and lateral forces requires

some degree of slippage in both directions, longitudinally and laterally, depending on the road

conditions. The number of degrees of freedom is therefore seven:

forward motion of the motorcycle,

rolling motion,

handlebar rotation,

longitudinal slippage of the rear wheel (thrust or braking),

lateral slippage of the front wheel,

lateral slippage of the rear wheel.

This kinematic study refers to a rigid motorcycle, i.e. one without suspensions with the wheels

fitted to nondeformable tires, and schematized as two toroidal solid bodies with circular sections

(Fig. 1-3).

Motorcycles can be described using the following geometric parameters:

p wheelbase;

d fork offset: perpendicular distance between the axis of the steering head and the center of the

front wheel;

caster angle;

Rr radius of the rear wheel;

Rf radius of the front wheel;

tr radius of the rear tire cross section;

tf radius of the front tire cross section.

Some important geometric parameters can be expressed in terms of these variables:

r = (Rr tr ) radius of the front torus center circle;

f = (Rf tf) radius of the rear torus center circle;

an = Rf sin d normal trail;

a = an / cos = Rf tan d / cos mechanical trail.

The geometric parameters usually used to describe motorcycles are the following:

the wheelbase p ;

the caster angle ;

the trail a.

These parameters are measured with the motorcycle in a vertical position and the steering angle of

the handlebars set to zero.

The wheelbase p is the distance between the contact points of the tires on the road. The caster angle

is the angle between the vertical axis and the rotation axis of the front section (the axis of the

steering head). The trail a is the distance between the contact point of the front wheel and the

intersection point of the steering head axis with the road measured in the ground plane.

Together these parameters are important in defining the maneuverability of the motorcycle as

perceived by the rider. It is not practical, however, to examine the effects produced by only one

geometric parameter, independently of the others, because of the strong interaction between them.

Here we will present some considerations regarding the way in which these parameters influence the

kinematic and dynamic behavior of motorcycles.

The value of the wheelbase varies according to the type of motorcycle. It ranges from 1200 mm in

the case of small scooters to 1300 mm for light motorcycles (125 cc displacement) to 1350 mm for

medium displacement motorcycles (250 cc) up to 1600 mm, and beyond, for touring motorcycles

with greater displacement.

In general, an increase in the wheelbase, assuming that the other parameters remain constant, leads

to:

an unfavorable increase in the flexional and torsional deformability of the frame. These

parameters are very important for maneuverability (frames that are more deformable make the

motorcycle less maneuverable),

an unfavorable increase in the minimum curvature radius, since it makes it more difficult to turn

on a path that has a small curvature radius,

in order to turn, there must be an unfavorable increase in the torque applied to the handlebars,

a favorable decrease in transferring the load between the two wheels during the acceleration and

braking phases, with a resulting decrease in the pitching motion; this makes forward and

rearward flip-over more difficult,

a favorable reduction in the pitching movement generated by road unevenness,

a favorable increase in the directional stability of the motorcycle.

The trail and caster angle are especially important inasmuch as they define the geometric

characteristics of the steering head. The definition of the properties of maneuverability and

directional stability of motorcycles depend on them, among others.

The caster angle varies according to the type of motorcycle: from 19 (speedway) to 21-24 for

competition or sport motorcycles, up to 27-34 for touring motorcycles. From a structural point of

view, a very small angle causes notable stress on the fork during braking. Since the front fork is

rather deformable, both flexionally and torsionally, small values of the angle will lead to greater

stress and therefore greater deformations, which can cause dangerous vibrations in the front

assembly (oscillation of the front assembly around the axis of the steering head, called wobble).

The value of the caster angle is closely related to the value of the trail. In general, in order to have

a good feeling for the motorcycles maneuverability, an increase in the caster angle must be coupled

with a corresponding increase in the trail.

The value of the trail depends on the type of motorcycle and its wheelbase. It ranges from values of

75 to 90 mm in competition motorcycles to values of 90 to 100 mm in touring and sport motorcycles,

up to values of 120 mm and beyond in purely touring motorcycles.

One of the peculiarities of motorcycles is the steering system, whose function is essentially to

produce a variation in the lateral force needed, for example, to change the motorcycles direction or

assure equilibrium.

According to this point of view , the steering system could hypothetically be made up of two little

rockets placed perpendicular to the front wheel which, when appropriately activated, could, although

not without significant if not insurmountable difficulties for the rider, generate lateral thrusts, that is,

perform the same function as the steering system.

From a geometrical point of view, the classic steering mechanism is described by three parameters:

the caster angle ;

the fork offset d ;

the radius of the wheel Rf.

These parameters make it possible to calculate the value of the normal trail an, which is the

perpendicular distance between the contact point and the axis of the motorcycles steering head. This

is considered positive when the front wheels contact point with the road plane is behind the point of

the axis intersection of the steering head with the road itself, as presented in Fig. 1-4. As we have

previously seen, the trail measured on the road is related to the normal trail by the equation:

a = an / cos

The value of the trail is most important for the stability of the motorcycle, especially in rectilinear

motion.

Fig. 1-4 Stabilizing effect of the positive trail during forward movement.

To develop this concept, let us consider a motorcycle driving straight ahead, at constant velocity V,

and let us suppose that an external disturbance (for example, an irregularity in the road surface or a

lateral gust of wind) causes a slight rotation of the front wheel to the left. For the time being, let us

ignore the fact that the motorcycle starts to turn to the left and that because of centrifugal forces,

begins at the same time to lean to the right, concentrating our attention instead on the lateral friction

force F generated by the contact of the tire with the ground.

In other words, let us suppose that the motorcycle is driving at constant velocity V and that the front

wheel contact point also has velocity V in the same direction. The vector V may be divided into two

orthogonal components:

the component f Rf, which represents the velocity due to rolling: it is placed in the plane of the

wheel and rotated to the left at an angle which depends on the steering angle;

the component Vslide, which represents the sliding velocity of the contact point with respect to the

road plane.

A frictional force, F, therefore acts on the front tire. F is parallel to the velocity of slippage but has

the opposite sense, as illustrated in Fig. 1-4. Since the trail is positive, friction force F generates a

moment that tends to align the front wheel. The straightening moment is proportional to the value of

the normal trail.

If the value of the trail were negative (the contact point in front of the intersection point of the

steering head axis with the road plane) and considering that friction force F is always in the opposite

direction of the velocity of slippage, a moment around the steering head axis that would tend to

increase the rotation to the left would be generated. In Fig. 1-5 one can observe how friction force F

would amplify the disturbing effect, seriously compromising the motorcycles equilibrium. Figure 15 demonstrates that the road profile can make the trail negative, for example, when the wheel goes

over a step or bump.

Small trail values generate small aligning moments of the lateral friction force. Even if the rider

has the impression that the steering movement is easy, the steering mechanism is very sensitive to

irregularities in the road. Higher values of the trail (obtained with high values of the caster angle as

shown in Fig. 1-6) increase the stability of the motorcycles rectilinear motion, but they drastically

reduce maneuverability.

Consider, for example, chopper type motorcycles which became very popular following the

success of the well-known film, Easy Rider. These motorcycles have caster angle values up to 40,

During curvilinear motion, road gripping is assured by the lateral frictional forces, which are

perpendicular to the line of intersection of the wheel plane with the road.

The front and rear lateral forces create moments around the steering head axis that are

proportional respectively to distances an and bn, which are related to the wheelbase and the trail by the

equations:

an = a cos

bn = (p + a) cos

where an represents the normal front trail and bn may be considered the normal trail of the rear

wheel.

This simple consideration shows how the wheelbase and the trail are intimately connected to each

other and should therefore be considered together. It is not entirely correct to define a trail as small

or large without reference to the motorcycles wheelbase. As a comparison parameter, we could use

the ratio between the front and rear normal trail:

Rn = an/bn

In general the normal front trail is approximately 4-8% of the value of the rear one. The value of

this ratio for racing motorcycles is approximately 6%; for sport and super sport motorcycles it is

from 6 to 6.5%; and for touring motorcycles, which are more or less similar to sport motorcycles, it

varies from 6 to 8%.

Cruiser motorcycles (heavy, slower motorcycles) are characterized by values of 5-6% and have

trails that are modest in comparison with the wheelbase. This is probably due to the necessity of

making the motorcycles maneuverable at low velocities. Since the load on the front wheels is high

due to the weight of the motorcycle, the choice of a small trail lowers the value of the torque that the

rider must apply to the handlebars to execute a given maneuver. In addition, it is worth pointing out

that these motorcycles are normally used at rather low velocities, and they do not therefore need long

trails, which, as previously noted, assures a high directional stability at high velocities.

This ratio is also low for scooters since they are used (or should be used) at low velocities and

therefore maneuverability has a higher priority than directional stability.

Strictly speaking, the ratio should take into account the distribution of the load on the wheels. A

motorcycle that has a heavy load on the front wheel needs a shorter trail. In fact, heavier loads on the

front wheel generate greater lateral frictional forces in proportion to the lateral motion of the wheel.

Therefore, for the same aligning torque acting around the axis of the steering head a smaller trail is

sufficient.

The correct ratio on the basis of the load distribution, is expressed by the equation:

Rn = (an/bn) (Nf /Nr)

where Nf is the load on the front wheel and Nr the load on the rear one.

It is clear that when turning the handlebars, keeping the motorcycle perfectly vertical, the steering

head lowers and only begins to rise for very high values of the steering angle. We will demonstrate

this statement by considering the following cases:

steering mechanism with no fork offset, d = 0;

steering mechanism with a non-zero fork offset, d 0.

In the case of the fork with no offset the center of the wheel is on the axis of the steering head. Let

us add the following assumptions:

the roll angle of the motorcycle is zero;

the wheels have zero thickness.

As shown in Fig. 1-8, when the steering angle is zero, the wheel is perfectly vertical and lies in

the xz plane.

The caster angle , the steering angle , the camber angle of the front wheel , the kinematic

steering angle (projection of the angle of rotation onto the road plane) and the angle are related

to each other through the following trigonometric equations:

tan = tan cos tan = tan cos sin = sin sin

It is possible to derive sin and cos as functions of and from the preceding equations:

We now assume that the wheel center (point O) can neither rise nor fall. The rotation of the front

wheel causes it to incline with respect to the vertical position and to detach itself from the horizontal

plane xy. The distance OD of the wheel center from the road plane is greater than the radius of the

wheel OP .

Actually, the wheel is not raised from the ground but rather lowered. Supposing that we keep the

axis of the steering head immobile, the center of the wheel moves along the steering head axis to the

point O1. Consequently, the contact point P1 moves forward, as shown in Fig. 1-8. In the final position

the distance OP is obviously equal to the radius of the wheel OP .

Fig. 1-8 Geometry of the steering mechanism, with the motorcycle in vertical position and no fork

offset.

When the steering angle is zero (Fig. 1-8, left), the normal trail and the trail measured on the road

plane are:

an = EP = Rf sin

a = CP = Rf tan

Here Rf indicates the radius of the front wheel. When the steering angle is not zero, the normal

The trail measured on the road plane is related to the normal trail and steering angle by the

equation:

Let us now consider the effect of offset d, i.e. the distance between the center of the wheel and the

steering head axis. The considerations that have allowed us to express the lowering of the steering

head as a function of the angles and in the case of zero-offset remain valid. However, the zerooffset formula must be corrected since the offset causes the center O of the wheel to move to O*, as is

shown in Fig. 1-9.

With a zero steering angle the trail is:

The presence of the fork offset leads to a reduction, d sin (1 cos ), in the lowering of the

wheel. This value must be subtracted from the lowering of the front axle, calculated without the offset.

In conclusion, with offset, there is less lowering of the front wheel center than with zero offset.

Example I

Let us consider a motorcycle characterized by the following steering parameters:

offset:

d = 0.05 m;

caster angle:

= 27.

Now calculate the effects of two different steering angles, 9 and 45, on steering head lowering with

and without fork offset.

With a steering angle = 9, the lowering is:

with zero offset: h = 0.75 mm;

with offset:

h = 0.478 mm.

with zero offset: h = 1.59 mm;

with offset:

h = 0.92 mm.

The example shows that ignoring the offset causes a significant error in calculating the lowering of

the front wheel center. It must be pointed out that the range of steering is generally less than 35.

Example 2

Let us consider two motorcycles in a vertical position, with the same mechanical trail (a = 101 mm),

the same radius (Rf = 0.3 m) and different caster angles ( 1 = 27, 2 = 20).

If the steering angle is changed from = 0 to = 9, calculate the lowering of the front wheel center

for each of the caster angle:

with 1 = 27 and = 9: h = 0.50 mm;

with 2 = 20 and = 9: h = 0.40 mm.

Lower caster angles reduce the lowering of the front wheel center.

If the steering angle is equal to 9, calculate the change in trail for each caster angle.

The trail is reduced from the 101 mm to:

with 2 = 20 and = 9: a = 99.8 mm.

The value of the trail slightly depends on the steering angle.

The previous considerations have allowed us to find analytical equations that express the lowering

of the steering head and the values of the trail in terms of the angles and and with the limiting

hypotheses of zero roll angle and zero wheel thickness. In the following section, a more complicated

kinematic model is used taking into account both the roll angle and the radius of the front tire cross

section.

Not only is the kinematics of a two-wheeled vehicle significantly more complex than of a fourwheeled vehicle, but it also presents some unique aspects.

For example, let us consider a motorcycle in rectilinear motion at velocity V, which at a certain

point enters into a curve. The motorcycle passes from a vertical position, in which the steering angle

was zero, to an tilted position with a roll angle . In order to stay balanced, the handlebar s angle of

rotation will deviate from zero depending on the radius of the curve and the velocity.

We have seen that the rotation of the steering, considering zero wheel thickness, generates a small

lowering of the steering head, which causes a small forward rotation of the rear frame around the

axis of the rear wheel (pitch rotation).

We will now see how, in reality, following the roll motion, the contact point of the rear wheel with

the road plane is displaced. Two triads can be defined as follows:

a mobile triad (Pr, x, y, z), defined as specified by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

The origin is established at the contact point Pr of the rear wheel with the road plane. The axis x

is horizontal and parallel to the rear wheel plane. The z axis is vertical and directed downward

while the y axis lies on the road plane. The road surface is therefore represented by the plane z =

0;

a triad fixed to the rear frame (Ar , Xr ,Yr , Zr) which is superimposed on the SAE triad when the

motorcycle is perfectly vertical and the steering angle zero.

Let us now suppose that only the rear wheel is tilted at the roll angle . Consequently the triad fixed

to the rear axle (Ar, Xr, Yr, Zr) rotates at the same angle around the x-axis. Therefore, the triads origin

Ar is translated with respect to Pr, as illustrated in Fig. 1-11b.

It can be seen that the lowering of the steering head causes a small pitching rotation of the rear

frame or, in other words, another rotation of the triad fixed to the rear frame, as shown in Fig. 1-11c.

It is important to point out that the origin Ar of the triad is fixed to the rear frame and not to the rear

wheel: Ar coincides with Pr only when the roll angle and the pitch angle are both zero.

The behavior of the front wheel is even more complicated, since, in addition to the rolling and

pitching motion, the front wheel is also subject to rotation around the axis of the steering head. The

change from a vertical to a tilted position was assumed to be a pure roll motion as if the slippage

between the tire and the road plane were zero. In reality, the behavior is more complex. In order to

produce the lateral reaction forces on the curve, a lateral slippage, which is expressed in terms of the

sideslip angle , might be necessary. (The next chapter, on tires, will show that slippage can be either

positive or negative depending on the value of the force generated by the camber angle of the wheel.)

Fig. 1-12 illustrates the cases of pure rolling motion and of motion with lateral slippage. The

absence of slippage means that the velocity vector of the forward motion of the wheels contact point

lies in a plane parallel to the wheel itself, even when the motorcycle is traveling in a curve.

We have shown that when a motorcycle is perfectly vertical ( = 0), the rotation of the handlebars

causes a lowering of the front wheel center and, therefore, a rotation of the rear frame around the

rear wheel axis. In other words, the movement of the handlebars causes a pitching motion. Now we

would like to study motorcycle pitch in a more general case, considering a roll angle other than

zero and taking into account the size of the tire cross sections (see Fig. 1-10).

The pitch angle of the frame, indicated by , is assumed to be positive in a counterclockwise

direction. Therefore, lowering the front wheel center leads to a negative value of the pitch angle. A

kinematic analysis of motorcycles allows us to determine a non-linear equation, which connects the

unknown pitch angle to a series of known quantities: the roll angle , the steering angle , the

wheelbase p , the radii of the cross sections of the tires, tf and tr, the radii of the torus center circles r

and f, and the caster angle .

where:

c1 = dsin (1 cos) + tr tf

c2 = f [cos cos( ) cos sin sin( ) 1]

c3 = d sin + f sinsin( )

c4 = p d cos(1 cos)

c5 = f [sincos( ) + coscossin( )]

The physical meaning of the angle is shown later in Fig. 1-22 of Section 1.7.2.

The previous equation was determined by ignoring the pitch angle with respect to , since its

value is only a few degrees compared to the caster angle , whose value normally varies from 20 to

35.

Once the value of the pitch is known, it is easy to calculate the resulting lowering of the front wheel

center, which is measured in the plane of the motorcycle. A good approximation of the lowering can

be derived from the product of the pitch angle and the wheelbase.

The preceding equations can be significantly simplified if we consider small rotations of the

steering angle (sin ). The expression for the pitch then becomes:

The pitch is proportional to the geometric parameter (an tf sin ), which corresponds to an ideal

normal trail, measured in correspondence with the circular axis of the torus center circle, as shown in

Fig. 1-13. The pitch also depends on the difference between the radii of the tire sections (tr tf): the

need to mount a larger tire on the rear to improve the adherence during thrusting, increases the effect

of lowering the steering head. It is worth noting that the second term does not depend on the steering

angle , but only on the roll angle .

If we also ignore tire thickness, i.e. if we consider zero thickness wheels (tr = tf = 0), we obtain the

simple equation:

This latter expression shows that the normal trail is the parameter that has the greatest influence on

the pitching motion.

Figure 1-14 shows the effect of the steering angle and roll angle on the pitch angle . It is

important to stress that negative values of the pitch angle correspond to downward rotations of the

vehicle around the rear wheel axle. Therefore, a negative value of the pitch angle causes a

motorcycles center of gravity to lower.

Fig. 1-14 The pitch angle as a function of steering angle at different roll angles . [p = 1.4 m, an

= 0.1 m, = 30, Rr = Rf = 0.36 m, tr = tf = 0.06 m]

When the roll angle values are not high (0 and 15 in Fig. 1-14), an increase in the steering

angle leads to a continuous lowering of the motorcycles center of gravity G. Since the lowering

corresponds to a reduction in potential energy, the increase in the steering angle takes place naturally,

even without applying torque to the handlebars.

It is easy to verify this behavior, especially with a light two-wheeled vehicle, such as a bicycle.

When the bicycle is tilted, the roll angle imposed determines the angle at which the handlebars

naturally rotate. For high values of the roll angle (30 and 45 in Fig. 1-14), the variation in the pitch

angle in terms of the steering angle stops decreasing and presents a minimum. At this point, a

limiting value of the steering angle is reached, beyond which the pitch slope reverses its sign.

Let us now consider the minimum condition of the pitch angle . This corresponds to the minimum

potential energy (center of gravity at its lowest point). From a physical point of view, this means that,

if a determined roll angle is imposed and no external torques are applied to the handlebars, the

front frame tends to rotate naturally towards the value of the steering angle which corresponds to

the minimum value of the pitch angle .

In conclusion, as the roIl angle gradually increases, the minimum value of the pitch angle

corresponds to a lower steering angle .

Figure 1-15 shows the influence of the steering angle and steering head angle , on the pitch

angle , for a fixed value of the roll angle .

The pitch angle becomes more negative as the steering angle increases. The influence of the

caster angle is modest.

Fig. 1-15 The pitch angle versus the steering angle for various values of the caster angle and

with a roll angle equal to 30.

Figure 1-16 shows that the normal trail is the parameter which most influences motorcycle pitch.

For example, when the steering angle is 10 and the offset is modified to obtain a 20% variation in

the normal trail, the variation in the pitch angle is approximately 35%.

Fig. 1-16 The pitch angle as a function of the steering angle for various values of normal trail.

As is shown in Fig. 1-16, when the normal trail increases, the minimum condition of the pitch angle

corresponds to increasing values of the steering angle. This is the opposite of what happens when the

roll angle increases, as is clear by comparing Fig. 1-16 with Fig. 1-14.

1.7.1 T he e ffe ct of cam be r and ti re cros s s e cti on

Let us consider a motorcycle that is initially in a vertical position. The cross section of the rear tire

is larger than that of the front. The rear frame tilts, assuming that there is lateral roll without slippage

on the road plane, as illustrated in Fig. 1-17b.

Fig. 1-17 Lateral displacement of the contact points without lateral slippage.

The contact point of the rear tire moves laterally, in the y direction, over a distance tr , which is

proportional to the radius of the tire cross section and the roll angle of the rear frame.

Let us suppose that the roll motion of the rear frame takes place while the steering angle is kept at

zero, and that there is no pitch of the motorcycle around the axis of the rear wheel. Since the front

wheel has a smaller section than the rear one, the front wheel would be raised from the road plane

following the roll motion. However, contact of the front wheel with the road is assured by the

simultaneous pitch rotation of the entire motorcycle around the axis of the rear wheel.

Once the roll and pitch rotations have taken place, the front wheel contact point moves to the left of

the rear wheel contact point by the quantity (tr tf ) tan , as is shown in Fig. 1-17c. It is clear that if

the tires have equal sections, the lateral displacement of the two contact points have the same value.

The rotation of the handlebar generates lateral and longitudinal displacements of the front wheels

contact point.

Let us consider a motorcycle that is initially in a vertical position. The motorcycle is tilted through

the roll angle and then the handlebars rotated through angle . Following this maneuver, the front

wheels contact point Pf moves away from the plane of the rear frame.

The coordinates of the point Pf in the SAE reference system, are expressed in the following

equations:

xPf = (c1 + c2) sin + (c4 + c5 ) cos

yPf = [(c1 + c2 ) cos + (c4 + c5)sin]sin + c3 cos (tf tr)

The quantities c1 ... c5 have been defined previously in the section 1.6.

Figure 1-19 shows the lateral and longitudinal displacements of the front contact point for four

values of the roll angle and corresponding steering rotation.

The point moves forward as the steering angle and preset roll angle increase. Figure 1-19

shows how the x coordinate of Pf increases from the initial value, which is equal to the wheelbase.

The point moves initially to the left (the y coordinate of Pf is initially negative) and then returns to

the right, passing over the x axis (the y coordinate of Pf changes its sign). At the point where the passover takes place, the steering angle decreases as the preset roll angle increases.

Fig. 1-20 Lateral position of the front contact point Pf as a function of the steering angle , for roll

angle = 30, and for various values of the caster angle .

The lateral displacement of the contact point Pf is not greatly affected by the caster angle , as is

seen in Fig. 1-20, while it is very sensitive to the value of the normal trail an, as can be observed in

Fig. 1-21.

Fig. 1-21 Lateral position of Pf versus the steering angle , for angle =30 and for various values of

the normal trail an[ = 30].

It is interesting to study the displacement of the front contact point in a triad fixed to the front

frame. For this purpose, we consider a zero thickness wheel (Fig. 1-22). When the motorcycle is

perfectly vertical (the roll and steering angles being zero), the contact point is located at A, as is

shown in Fig. 1-22. While increasing the roll and the steering angles the contact point Pf moves along

the arc AC up to its limiting position C ,. The point Pf reaches the point C only when the roll angle is

Fig. 1-23 Angular position of the front contact point of a zero thickness wheel versus the steering

angle , for various values of the roll angle .

As is clear, the front contact point never reaches point C with the values of the roll and steering

angles normally used in driving. In fact the contact point Pf moves within the arc APo, Po being the

intersection point of the steering axis with the profile of the wheel.

The front contact point Pf reaches point Po depending on the steering and roll angles, as is shown

in Fig. 1-22. When carrying out a steering maneuver to the right with a set roll angle, the contact point

Pf moves forward along the arc APo, while its trace moves to the left and forward on the road surface.

The effective trail is zero when the contact point is exactly at Po. Further increases in the roll and

steering angles move the contact point Pf towards the position C, while its trace on the road plane

moves to the right and the trail becomes negative.

The preceding equations, that give the position of the front contact point, can be significantly

simplified by assuming the rotations of the steering angle to be small (sin ). The expression

for the contact point Pf then becomes:

m oti on

It is clear from the preceding section that the leftward displacement of the contact point Pf,

following a steering maneuver to the right, favors roll. This statement can be explained by Fig. 1-24,

which represents the motorcycle, schematized as a rigid body of mass m, in equilibrium on a curve

with a roll angle equal to 30.

Assuming that we maintain a constant roll angle, the front contact point Pf moves to the outside of

the curve as the steering angle increases. Therefore, the weight moment increases with the increase

in the steering angle . This moment tends to tilt the motorcycle even more. The increase in the

weight arm, as shown in Fig. 1-24, is proportional to the leftward lateral displacement of the front

contact point. The lateral displacement y begins to decrease when a certain steering angle is

reached.

The contact point reaches its maximum external displacement at a certain steering angle .This

value of does not correspond to the value that minimizes the pitch angle . For example, with a

roll angle equal to 30, the maximum lateral displacement y occurs with a steering angle equal

to 12.5, while the pitch angle is at a minimum when is equal to 22.5, as shown in Figs. 1-19 and

1-14 respectively.

The camber angle of the front wheel is different from the roll angle of the rear frame, when the

steering angle is other than zero. As has already been shown, the front and rear frame roll angles

coincide only for zero steering angle.

Fig. 1-25 Pitch of the motorcycle and camber angles of the front and rear wheels.

The camber angle of the front wheel depends on the rear frame roll angle , the steering angle ,

the caster angle and the pitch angle :

The front frame is always more tilted with respect to the rear frame when steering angle is other

than zero (same sign as roll angle). As the steering angle increases, so does the camber angle .

If the pitch is ignored with respect to the caster angle , we obtain:

= arcsin(cos sin + cos sin sin )

If the steering and the roll angles are small enough the front camber angle can be approximated as:

= + sin

The equation shows that, for roll and steering angles in phase, e.g. with the roll angle to the right

and the handlebars also turned to the right, the front frame roll angle is always greater than the rear

frame roll angle. This aspect is important because the tire lateral force, as will be seen in the next

Fig. 1-26 Front wheel camber angle versus the rear frame roll angle for various values of the

steering angle.

The kinematic steering angle depends on the rear frame roll angle , steering angle , caster

angle and pitch angle :

From a strictly geometric point of view, the steering angle is the angle between the rear and front

wheel planes, while the kinematic steering angle represents the intersection of this actual angle with

the road plane z = 0.

Figure 1-28 shows the variation in the kinematic steering angle as a function of the steering angle

for four different values of the roll angle . The dotted line represents the condition = .

Therefore, it appears immediately evident that there is a transition value of the roll angle, below

which the kinematic steering angle remains lower than the set value , and above which is more

than the set value . In the specific case examined, the transition value is approximately 27.5.

In Fig. 1-29 the variation in the kinematic steering angle is shown, this time in terms of the roll

angle for four typical values of the steering angle . The horizontal dotted lines represent the

condition = for each of the four set values of . Clearly, it can be observed that for lower values

of the roll angle (25 to 30) the steering mechanism is attenuated ( < ). In this case, the

steering mechanism is less sensitive to the rotation of the handlebars and the motorcycle can be more

easily steered. The rider experiences the same ease of steering offered by wide handlebars even if the

ones being used are not. On the other hand, for higher values of the roll angle , the steering

mechanism is amplified ( > ) making the motorcycle more sensitive to changes in direction.

The kinematic steering angle also depends on the geometry of the steering mechanism. Figure 130 is carried out with the roll angle set to =30. The figure, in which the dotted line represents the

condition = , shows that decreasing the caster angles make the steering mechanism more sensitive

( > ). This sensitivity is practically independent of the value of the normal trail. In fact, it is well

known that small caster angles are needed for motorcycles to be very sensitive to rapid steering and

that high caster angles values make steering more controllable.

Fig. 1-28 Kinematic steering angle as a function of the steering angle fr different values of the

roll angle [ =30].

Fig. 1-29 Kinematic steering angle as a function of the roll angle for various values of the

steering angle [ =30].

If we ignore the pitch with respect to the caster angle and the term sin sin sin with respect

cos cos, the approximate equation for the kinematic steering angle then becomes:

This equation can also be obtained on the basis of simple geometric considerations.

Lets consider a motorcycle in a vertical position and suppose that the handlebar rotates, while

locking the contact point Pf of the front wheel.

Fig. 1-30 Kinematic steering angle versus the steering angle , for various values of the caster angle

[=30].

The rear contact point Pr moves back slightly, while the intersection point of the steering head axis

with the road plane moves laterally. This movement describes an approximately circular trajectory, as

shown in Fig. 1-31.

The rear frame rotation angle p depends on the steering angle n as the following equation shows:

(p + a) tanp = a tan(p +n)

The steering angle (which by definition is measured in a plane orthogonal to the steering head axis)

is related to the angle n (which is measured in a plane orthogonal to the motorcycle plane), by the

expression (see also section 1.4):

tann = tan cos

Assuming that the rotations are small, the following simplified equation is obtained:

Therefore, the displacement of the rear plane from the front contact point, keeping zero roll angle,

is:

yPf a cos = an

The displacement yPf is proportional to the value of the trail and decreases with an increase in the

caster angle as demonstrated previously on page 24.

Now that the steering angle has been fixed, let us tilt the motorcycle through a set roll angle , as

in Fig. 1-31 and 1-32. The kinematic steering angle is represented by the angle formed by the

direction of forward motion of the front and rear wheels. The approximate equation of this angle is

given by the ratio of the wheelbase and the radius of curvature:

The steering angle n, measured in the plane normal to the rear frame plane, is:

The kinematic steering angle , in terms of the roll angle , caster angle and steering angle , is

then:

On the basis of this equation we can draw the following conclusions:

only when the roll angle is equal to the caster angle , can the kinematic steering angle be

equal to the rotation angle of the handlebars ;

an attenuation, < , occurs for low values of the roll angle, while an amplification, > ,

occurs for large roll angles:

with high values of the caster angle (like choppers), a greater rotation of the handlebar is

The kinematic study of the path traced by a motorcycle is carried out assuming that there is no

lateral slippage between the wheels and the road plane (kinematic steering). The curvature C of the

path (the inverse of the path radius) depends on the position of the front contact point Pf and the

kinematic steering angle :

For small steering angles (sin ), the curvature C can be expressedin terms of the roll angle

and the steering angle :

Since the displacement of the contact point Pf of the front wheel is small with respect to the

wheelbase, the curvature can be computed with the following simplified formula:

It can be observed that the paths radius is directly proportional to the wheelbase. Fig. 1-34 shows how

the curvature C varies with the steering angle , for various values of the roll angle . The maximum

error using the approximate formula is equal to about 2%.

Fig. 1-34 Curvature C versus the steering angle for various values of the roll angle .

The trail is the distance between the front contact point and the intersection point of the steering

head axis with the road plane. On the other hand, the normal trail is the perpendicular distance

between the front contact point and the steering head axis (Fig. 1-35).

Fig. 1-35 Effective trail with the front wheel tilted and steered.

In cornering conditions the normal and mechanical trail depend on the wheelbase, the caster angle,

the offset of the front wheel, the geometrical properties of the tires, the position of the front contact

point and the pitch angle. The normal trail in cornering condition is:

It is worth highlighting that the trail depends on the geometry of the front tire because the pitch angle

and the front contact point position depend on f and tf.

The importance of the normal trail derives from the fact that the moments generated by the tire

reaction forces (vertical load and lateral force) acting around the steering head axis are proportional

to the value of the normal trail.

Fig. 1-37 Components of the reaction forces that generate a moment around the steering head axis.

Lets consider the lateral force and normal load applied at the front contact point (Fig. 1-36). Each

force can be split into components that act perpendicular to the steering axis and normal trail

(therefore in a position to produce a moment around the axis) and components parallel to or

intersecting the steering axis (which do not produce a moment). This is shown schematically in Figs.

1-36 and 1-37.

The normal trail represents the arm of the useful components. The useful component of the lateral

force, tends to align the wheel to the forward velocity, while the useful component of the vertical

load, has a misaligning effect, i.e., it tends to cause the wheel to rotate towards the inside of the curve.

The values of the moments around the steering head, generated by these two useful components, are

important for the equilibrium of the front section (around the steering head axis). The torque the rider

must apply to maintain equilibrium depends on them.

We will now try to understand whether and how the normal trail varies when the motorcycle is in a

curve. Figure 1-38 shows the normal trail as a function of the roll angle and the steering angle. It can

be noted that the normal trail diminishes when the roll angle increases and even more so when the

steering angle increases. However, if we consider steering angles below 5 and roll angles below 40,

the trail variations remain below 20%.

Fig. 1-39 shows that an increase in the radius of the front tire cross section from 50 mm to 80 mm

further reduces these variations. With a steering angle of 5 and a roll angle of 40 the reduction of

the trail goes from 20% to 10%.

Changing the type of front tire can cause a variation in the cross section radius. Therefore, the

normal effective trail in turning, i.e. the arm of the reactive forces, varies. Since the rider feels the

behavior of the front section through the torque applied on the handlebars, it is clear that a variation

in the cross section radius can produce a different feeling. If the caster angle is varied, very similar

graphs are obtained. However, the caster angle value influences the variation in the normal trail to a

lesser extent.

In conclusion, it can be stated that when comparing different motorcycles it is important to refer to

the normal trail since it has a precise physical meaning. In Fig. 1-40 and Fig. 1-41 the trail is

presented as a function of the roll angle and steering angle. It can be observed that an increase in the

roll angle, with small values of the steering angle, produces an increase in the trail. This is different

from what happens with the normal trail.

To summarize we can say that:

both trail and normal trail diminish with an increase in the steering angle ,

the value of the trail, whether normal or measured on the road plane, also depends on the roll

angle ,

a reduction in the trail, with the increase in the steering angle , is attenuated as the front tire

cross section radius and the external tire radius increase.

We would now like to study another particular aspect of motorcycles which occurs when the

motorcycle tilts to the side: the yawing effect caused by different cross section sizes of the tires.

Consider a motorcycle initially in a vertical position and with a zero steering angle (Fig. 1-42a). As

has already been stated, according to the SAE reference system, the triads origin is in the rear wheel

contact point Pr and the x-axis represents the motorcycles forward motion.

Lets suppose that the motorcycle tilts while the steering angle is held at zero, as shown in Fig. 142b. If the tires cross-sections have the same radii (tr = tf), the intersection of the rear frame plane

with the road plane coincides with the direction of the forward motion.

In this case, the rear plane does not yaw, but rather moves laterally due to the lateral rolling of the

tires. The lateral displacement, tr = tf, is equal to the product of the roll angle times the radius of

the tires cross-section.

If the radii of the cross sections have different values (tr > tf), also shown in Fig. 1-42b, the tilting

motion, with the steering angle fixed at zero, produces a rotation of the rear frame plane, i.e., a yaw

motion whose value is given by:

Fig. 1-42 Motorcycle yaw caused by tires with different cross sections.

Example 3

Consider a motorcycle with the following characteristics: wheelbase p = 1400 mm, the radii of the

tire cross sections are tr = 100 mm and tf = 40 mm.

If the motorcycle changes from straight running (vertical motorcycle, = 0) to turning (roll angle

= 45), calculate the yaw angle of the rear frame.

The yaw angle of the rear frame plane, due to the difference in the radii of the cross sections, is

equal to = 0.53.

The tire is one of the motorcycles most important components. Its fundamental characteristic is its

deformability, which allows contact between the wheel and the road to be maintained even when small

obstacles are encountered.

In addition to improving the comfort of the ride, the tire improves adherence, an important

characteristic both for the transfer of large driving and braking forces to the ground, and for the

generation of lateral forces. The performance of a motorcycle is largely influenced by the

characteristics of its tires. In order to understand their importance, one must consider that control of

the vehicles equilibrium and motion occurs through the generation of longitudinal and lateral forces

acting between the contact patches of the tires with the road plane. The forces originate as a result of

action taken by the rider through the steering mechanism, the accelerator and the braking system.

From the dynamic view of the motorcycle, it is fundamental to portray the overall behavior of the

tire in various conditions of use through a model capable of representing the forces and moments of

contact in terms of forward velocity, camber angle, longitudinal slip, lateral slip and load acting on

the tire itself.

From a macroscopic viewpoint, the interaction of the tire with the road can be represented by a

system composed of three forces and three moments, as in Fig. 2-1:

a longitudinal force acting along the axis parallel to the intersection of the wheel plane with the

road plane, and passing through the contact point (assumed positive if driving and negative if

braking), in x direction;

a vertical force orthogonal to the road plane (a vertical load that acts on the wheel, assumed

positive in an upward direction), along the z axis;

a lateral force, in the road plane, orthogonal to the longitudinal force, in y direction;

an overturning moment around the x-axis,

a rolling resistance moment around the y -axis,

a yawing moment around the z-axis.

Fig. 2-1 Forces and torques of contact between the tire and the road plane.

In Fig. 2-2 typical longitudinal and lateral forces have been depicted in the condition of pure slip.

Pure slip represents the situation when either longitudinal or lateral slip occurs in isolation. The

longitudinal force depends on the longitudinal slip and shows a clear peak while the lateral force

is a function both of the camber angle and of the sideslip angle. Curves which exhibit a shape

like the forces depicted in Fig. 2-2 can be represented by a mathematical formula named the

Magic Formula.

The model proposed by acejka (1993) is very much in use. The approach is substantially

empirical and the results reproduce the real behavior of the tire very well. The entire model revolves

around what is called the magic formula, that is, a single expression that can be used to represent

the longitudinal driving or braking force, the lateral force or the moment around the z axis. The

expression is as follows:

Y(x) = y(x) + Sv

y(x) = Dsin{Carctan[ Bx E(Bx arctanBx)]}

X = x + Sh

where B, C, D and E are four parameters, Sv indicates the translation of the curve along the y axis, and

Sh indicates the translation of the curve along the x axis.

The magnitude y can represent either the longitudinal thrust or the lateral force, while x represents

the corresponding slip quantity. Figure 2-3 reproduces the typical variation of the Pacejka curve and

is effective in visualizing the meaning of the four parameters appearing there.

Parameter D represents the peak value (only with E < 1 and C 1) and depends on the vertical

load.

Parameter C controls the asymptotic value assumed by the curve as the slip tends to infinity, and

in this way determines the resulting form of the curve.

Parameter B determines the slope of the curve from the origin.

Parameter E characterizes the curvature near the peak, and at the same time determines the

position of the peak itself.

It can be shown that the gradient at the origin is given by the product BCD .

Consider a wheel that rotates without slippage on a flat surface. The rolling radius is defined by the

ratio of the forward velocity to its angular speed:

The effective rolling radius in free motion is, as shown in Fig. 2-4, smaller than the radius of the

unloaded tire because of the deformation of the tire. Its value depends on the type of tire, its radial

stiffness, the load, the inflation pressure and the forward velocity. It can be demonstrated that its value

in free motion is smaller than that of the radius of the unloaded tire but greater than the distance from

the center of the tire to the road plane. An approximate value is given by the equation:

R0 = R (R h)/3

During the tires rolling, the portion of the circumference that passes over the track undergoes a

deflection. In the contact area stresses are generated, which are both normal (due to the load) and

shear due to the difference in length of the arc of circumference and its tread chord (that represents

the length of the contact tread). Because of the hysteresis of the tire material, part of the energy that

was spent in deforming the tire carcass is not restored in the following phase of relaxation, or is

restored late. This causes a change in the distribution of the contact pressures, which therefore are not

symmetric, but are higher in the areas in front of the wheels axis.

As shown in Fig. 2-5, the resultant of the normal contact pressures is displaced forward with

respect to the center of the wheel by the distance d. The forward displacement is called the rolling

friction parameter. Hence, to move the wheel with constant forward velocity it is necessary to

overcome a rolling resistance moment equal to:

Mw =d N

The resistance to rolling is expressed via a resistance force that opposes the forward motion, and

whose value is given by the product of the rolling resistance coefficient fw and the vertical load.

In addition to the type of tire (either radial or bias-ply), its dimensions, the characteristics of the

tire, the temperature and the conditions of use the rolling resistance coefficient depends principally

on the forward velocity and on the inflation pressure. The rolling resistance coefficient increases with

the camber angle. Typical values are on the order of 0.02.

Fig. 2-5 Description of contact pressures and forces acting on a rolling wheel.

Kevin Cooper (see [J. Bradley, 1996]) has proposed the following empirical formula for

calculating losses through resistance due to the rolling of the motorcycle tires. The formula takes

inflation pressure and forward velocity into account:

Velocity is expressed in kilometers per hour and the tire pressure p in bar (1 bar 1 atm). Figure 2-6

shows the variation of the rolling resistance coefficient versus the variation of velocity at certain

values of tire pressure. It can be observed that an increase in pressure diminishes the resistance to

rolling.

The power that is dissipated because of the rolling resistance force, is given by the product of the

resistance force and the forward velocity:

Here N represents the load on the wheel (expressed in Newtons); the power dissipated P is expressed

in kilowatts.

To summarize it may be said that the rolling resistance force depends on:

inflation pressure

the deformation of the tire (in view of the hysteresis of the material),

the relative slip between the tire and the road,

the aerodynamic resistance due to the ventilation.

Fig. 2.6 The rolling resistance coefficient versus the forward velocity for various values of tire

pressure.

Of these three causes, the first one is by far the most important. Losses through ventilation are caused

by the interaction between the wheel and the circulating air, which in turn depends on the form of the

wheel itself (arm or spokes), the profile of the tire and the rotational velocity.

Example 1

Consider a motorcycle with a mass of 200 kg and two different velocities: 100 km/h and 250 km/h.

Assuming the tire pressure is 2.25 bar, determine the power dissipated to overcome rolling resistance.

The power dissipated in order to overcome the rolling resistance forces at a velocity of 100 km/h

is only 1.1 kW, while at a velocity of 250 km/h the power rises to 12 kW.

The presence of driving or braking forces generates further longitudinal shear stresses along the

area of contact. The circumferential stress, in the case of driving force, compresses the fibers in the

contact area (Fig. 2-7); in the case of braking forces, the fibers are engaged in tension (Fig. 2-8).

The forward velocity of the contact point is therefore less, in the case of traction, than the tires

peripheral velocity. Alternatively, in the case of braking, it is greater than the tires peripheral

velocity. This is expressed by the longitudinal slip, defined by the ratio between the slip velocity (V

R) and the forward velocity V :

The longitudinal slip is positive in the case of traction and negative in the case of braking. In the latter

case, longitudinal shear stresses have the opposite sign of the forward velocity.

In the case of driving wheel, some longitudinal shear stresses are generated in the contact area

having the same sign as the forward velocity and therefore the tire tread in the contact patch is

compressed. In the first part of the patch the contact is one of adhesion, but in the second part the

contact occurs with sliding (Fig. 2.7).

Fig. 2-7 Longitudinal shear stress in the contact area and forces acting on a driving wheel.

In braking, the instantaneous rolling radius, which in conditions of pure rolling is less than the

peripheral radius of the wheel, increases with an increase of the braking force until it becomes

greater than the wheels radius (in a sudden stop that includes locking the wheel, this radius is

infinite). In the first part of the patch, the contact is one of adhesion. At a certain point, the difference

between the forward velocity and the peripheral velocity produces shear stresses greater than those

that can be generated in conditions of adhesion, and for this reason a sliding zone is generated. The

length of the sliding zone is approximately proportional to the braking force (Fig. 2.8).

Fig. 2-8 Longitudinal shear stress in the contact area and forces acting on a braking wheel.

The longitudinal force of both traction and braking is proportional in a first approximation to the

load applied; the ratio between the longitudinal force and the load (normalized longitudinal force)

is called longitudinal braking/driving force coefficient.

The longitudinal force at nominal load N can be described by means of the Magic Formula:

The coefficient D = p represents the peak of the braking/driving force coefficient while the product

DCB is the longitudinal slip stiffness.

Fig. 2-9 shows in qualitative terms the ratio of the longitudinal force to the normal load, versus

variation of the value of the longitudinal slip. The maximum value (braking/driving traction

coefficient) depends strongly on road conditions.

2.4.2 Li ne ar m ode l

The force, in braking and thrusting phases respectively, can be expressed by a linear equation, such

as:

F = K = (kN)

S = K = (kN)

where,

The order of magnitude of the value of longitudinal stiffness k (gradient of the curve of zero

slippage) ranges from 12-30 (non-dimensional value).

Fig. 2-9 Qualitative variation of the braking/driving force coefficient versus slip.

Example 2

Suppose that a vehicle of 81 kW power (110 HP) attains a maximum velocity of 270 km/h (75 m/s).

Determine the driving thrust required to attain this velocity. Next assuming maximum thrust with the

entire load on the motorcycle on the rear wheel, determine the driving force coefficient.

The necessary driving thrust is equal to the ratio between power and velocity:

S = 81*1000/75=1079.5 N

The driving force coefficient is equal to:

The slip necessary to produce this normalized longitudinal force can be determined if we know the

variation of the longitudinal force coefficient in terms of the slip. The value of the necessary slip

depends on the type of tire. In the two curves given in Fig. 2-10, the value of the friction coefficient

0.72 is obtained, with 3.6% slippage in the case of tire A and 8% with tire B. It is clear that tire B is

subject to more rapid wear than tire A, because of the greater longitudinal slip necessary for

generating the same thrust force.

Fig. 2-10 Longitudinal force coefficient versus longitudinal slip for two different tires.

The lateral force, which the tire exerts on the ground, depends on both the sideslip angle and the

camber angle . The sideslip angle is defined as the angle measured in the road plane between the

direction of travel and the intersection of the wheel plane with the road plane, as can be seen in Fig. 211. Sideslip forces depend on tire carcass distortion while camber forces depend primarily on

geometry.

The tire is deformed on contact with the ground, producing a patch of variable shape and

dimensions according to the characteristics of the tire, the roll angle, the sideslip angle, as well as

external factors such as the load, the inflation pressure, etc. Any presence of lateral forces and

braking or driving torques introduces further deformations to the contact patch. In general, the patch

is not symmetrical with respect to the x and y-axes.

First let us consider the case of a tire inclined to a set camber angle, which moves forward in the

direction of its plane and has a zero sideslip angle (Fig. 2-12). In the case of an undeformable tire

carcass, the patch is dot-shaped and the generic point P, situated on the external surface of the torus of

the wheel, describes a circular trajectory in space whose projection on the road plane is a curve in the

form of an ellipse. It therefore touches the road at the single contact point A . There is no lateral

deformation of the tire; therefore, it generates no camber force.

In the case in which the tires carcass is deformable, the contact zone is extended, and point P at the

moment when it enters the area of contact with the ground is obliged to abandon the theoretical

elliptical trajectory and to move along a rectilinear trajectory in the direction of the wheels forward

motion; this direction is indicated with the line a a in Fig. 2-12.

We can imagine that the deformation of the tire carcass PPwill occur in two distinct phases: first,

the vertical load generates the vertical deformation PP , then the lateral force of the camber thrust

generates the deformation PP. The lateral force due to camber is important, especially at small slip

angles.

Consider a wheel that rotates and at the same time slips laterally. In this case the form of the contact

patch is distorted as shown in Fig. 2-13.

Consider a point P situated on a tread that reaches contact with the ground at point A. When point P

moves to a determined point indicated with B, it describes a rectilinear trajectory. Its velocity has the

direction of the forward velocity V. When it reaches point B , the elastic restoring shear stress, due to

the deformation of the carcass and of the rubber elements in the tire tread, becomes greater than the

adhesion forces and therefore become such as to make it deviate in the opposite direction, causing it

to slide on the ground until the trailing edge C.

Two zones are therefore to be distinguished in the contact area:

a front zone where adhesion takes place;

a rear zone in which there is sliding.

The sliding zone is more extended the greater the slip angle is. Once a limiting value of the lateral

force has been reached, the entire contact zone becomes a sliding area.

Fig. 2-13 The patch of a motorcycle tire in the presence of lateral slip.

Figure 2-14 shows in qualitative terms, the normalized lateral force versus the slip angle and

versus the camber angle. The maximum value of the force that can be obtained, given a certain tire, is

strongly dependent on road conditions.

The forces were measured by means the rotating disk test machine described in [Cossalter et al.,

2003] and shown in Fig. 2-15. The disk rotates around a vertical axis and is equipped with a safety

walk track. The wheel under testing rolls on the track and is placed in position by an articulated arm

that makes it possible to set the camber and sideslip angles at assigned values.

Fig. 2.14 Measured values of lateral force as a function of the sideslip angle and for various

values of the camber angle (left) and as a function of the camber angle for various values of the

sideslip angle (right) [front tire 120/70/17].

As shown in the figure the lateral force is a function of the vertical load, sideslip and camber angle.

The coupling between the cornering and the camber components can be expressed with the equivalent

force approach by means of the following expression:

This approach is the most recent of Pacejkas formulations for motorcycle tires [Pacejka, 2005].

Ds = y is the peak of the lateral force coefficient, D C B = k is the cornering stiffness coefficient

and D C B = k is the camber stiffness coefficient.

2.5.4 Li ne ar m ode l

The contact forces between the tire and the road plane depend on the slip angle and the camber

angle. It can be seen that for small slip angles, the dependence on the slip angle is nearly linear while

the camber component is almost a linear function of the camber angle.

The lateral force for small slip angle and limited camber angle can be expressed by means of the

linear expression:

F = K + K = (k + k ) N

Figure 2-16 shows, on the left, the typical variation of the normalized lateral force with respect to the

vertical force, versus the slip angle for various values of the camber angle and, on the right, versus

the camber angle for various values of the slip angle.

The characteristics of the tire, as far as the lateral force is concerned, are defined by the cornering

and camber dimensional stiffnesses (N/rad):

The cornering stiffness coefficient k varies with the variation of the characteristics of the tires. Its

field of variability ranges from approximately 10 rad1 up to values of 25 rad1.

The camber stiffness coefficient k is of the order of magnitude of 0.7 to 1.5 radThe ratio between the maximum lateral force and the vertical load, can reach values of 1.3 to 1.6

when the road surface is clean and dry.

Consider a motorcycle in a curve in steady state. The equilibrium of the moments of the forces

acting on the center of mass shows that the normalized lateral force necessary to assure the

motorcycles equilibrium is equal to the tangent of the roll angle, as represented in Fig. 2-17.

Consider Fig. 2-18. The right graph shows, for a certain type of tire, the component of lateral thrust

due to camber alone (the straight line) and the lateral force necessary for the equilibrium of the

motorcycle on a curve (dotted line). The forces are normalized with respect to the vertical load N.

The graph on the left represents the normalized lateral force versus the lateral slip angle.

It can be observed that the straight line, which approximates the variation of the camber thrust,

intersects the curve tan in correspondence with a roll angle of 28. This means that within the range

0 to 28, the lateral force needed for equilibrium is less than the thrust force generated by camber

alone. Since the lateral force generated must be exactly equal to that needed for equilibrium, the

diminution of the lateral force is obtained through a negative sideslip angle. That is, the wheel

presents a lateral velocity component towards the interior of the curve.

Figure 2-18 shows, for example, that in the case of a camber angle of 10, the equality of the force

generated with that needed is obtained when there is a negative slip angle of 0.3 (Point A). With a

camber angle of 28 the lateral slip is zero (Point B ). For values of the camber angle greater than 28

the lateral force produced by camber alone is not sufficient for the equilibrium of the motorcycle and

therefore the increase in the lateral force is obtained with the lateral slip of the tire (positive slip).

This behavior is a characteristic of motorcycle tires in which the lateral force generated is, up to

determined roll angles, almost entirely due to the camber component. Since this component appears

more rapidly with respect to the component due to slip, it plays a fundamental role in safety. The

camber component appears more rapidly because it depends on the carcass deformation while the

cornering component depends on the slip angle which needs some time to occur.

Fig. 2-18 Components of the lateral force generated by camber and slip. Tire A.

Fig. 2-19 Components of lateral force generated by camber and slip. Tire B.

Now consider the graph in Fig. 2-19, which refers to a different type of tire. In this case the camber

thrust is always inferior to the lateral force needed for equilibrium. This means that it is always

necessary to have lateral slip in order to generate the additional lateral force required for

equilibrium. The lateral forces, the way they are produced and their dependence on the camber angle

and the slip angle, play a fundamental role in the motorcycles under-steering or over-steering

behavior.

If the generation of lateral front force requires a slip angle larger than that needed for the

generation of lateral rear force, the motorcycle will tend, as the roll angle increases, to skid more

with the front wheel. This behavior causes the vehicle to under-steer. On the other hand, if the slip in

the rear wheel is greater than that of the front one, the behavior will be over-steering. Neutral

behavior occurs when the slip angles are equal. On the basis of these considerations, the tires ideal

behavior occurs when the slip angle is zero, that is, when the lateral force necessary for equilibrium

is produced by camber alone.

2.5.6 De pe nde nce of l ate ral force on l oad, pre s s ure , te m pe rature

The tires capability for lateral grip is well represented by the plots of lateral force versus camber

angle and sideslip angle, as depicted in Fig. 2.20 for several very different types of front and rear

tires.

Fig. 2-20 An example of lateral force as a function of the camber angle (left) and of the sideslip

angle (right) for different front (top) and rear (bottom) tires.

Fig. 2-21 An example of lateral force as a function of the camber angle (left) and sideslip angle

Figure 2-21 shows as an example the measured normalized lateral force versus both the slip angle

and the camber angle for various values of inflation pressure, of vertical load and temperature of the

carcass.

Cornering stiffness is not to be confused with the tires lateral or radial stiffness. Lateral stiffness is

the ratio between applied lateral force and the resulting lateral deformation of the tires carcass. It

depends on the tires construction characteristics. The order of magnitude of its value is of 100 to 200

kN/m. The radial stiffness of the tire is the relation between the vertical load and the vertical

deformation and has values in the range of 100 to 350 kN/m. Inflation pressure and forward velocity

influence both of these structural stiffnesses.

An increase in vertical load decreases the cornering stiffness coefficient whereas the camber

stiffness coefficient is almost not influenced. An increase in inflation pressure, decreases the

cornering stiffness coefficient and, to a lesser extent, decreases the camber stiffness coefficient. Tires

with larger sections, or greater cross section radii, usually have a larger cornering stiffness

coefficient. An increase in temperature decreases both cornering and camber stiffness coefficients but

increases the maximum value of the ratio between the maximum lateral force and the vertical load.

We have stated that the tire lateral force does not arise instantaneously. To appear, the wheel needs

to roll a certain distance, which depends on the tires cornering characteristics and lateral stiffness.

Suppose that the motorcycle is initially in a state of vertical equilibrium. The roll and slip angles

are zero with corresponding zero values of the lateral contact forces. If we instantaneously assign

non-zero values to the roll and slip angles, the lateral contact forces increase exponentially, from

zero to the steady state value corresponding to the assigned roll and sideslip angles; the contact forces

therefore follow, with a delay, the variation of the angles on which they depend. This is due to the fact

that the carcass distortion takes some time to establish itself. The component due to camber,

depending primarily on tire geometry, has a lesser delay than that of the component due to lateral slip.

The tires behavior in transient state can be represented by the model (Fig 2-22), which is

composed of a spring (with stiffness ks expressed in N/m) and damper in series (with damping

coefficient c expressed in kg/s). The spring ks represents the tires lateral stiffness and depends

mainly on the form and characteristics of the tires carcass while the damper c describes the behavior

of the tire under conditions of lateral slip. If we ignore the inertia of the tires carcass, the cornering

force is equal and opposite to the elastic force generated by the deformation of the tire:

Fs = c = cV = K = ks(y yi)

Here = /V represents the transient slip angle, that is the slip angle of the contact patch (point P), y

the lateral displacement of the contact patch and yi the displacement imposed on the wheel.

Fig. 2-22 Spring and damper connected in series to represent the lateral behavior of the tire.

Taking into account the definition of the slip angle and the apparent damping coefficient c = K /V,

the equation can be expressed in the form:

The differential equation can also be expressed in terms of the lateral force produced. After some

manipulation, the following expression, with the imposed wheel slip angle = i/V, is obtained:

Suppose that the wheel is suddenly subjected, at instant t = 0, to a lateral motion with constant slip

angle o. As a result the lateral force increases exponentially:

Keeping in mind that the distance x traversed by the wheel is given by the product of velocity and

time, we have:

Figure 2-23 shows the variation of the lateral force, normalized with respect to the value K o , which

it assumes in a steady state, as a function of the distance x covered by the wheel. The tangent

constructed through the origin is equal to the ratio ks/K . The inverse of the tangent is called

relaxation length:

The relaxation length represents the distance the wheel has to cover in order for the lateral force to

reach 63% of the steady state force. Integrating the differential equation gives us the lateral force once

we have assigned a temporal variation to the slip angle.

The values of the relaxation length of the cornering force ranges between 0.12-0. 45 m. The small

values correspond to low velocity (20 km/h), the higher values to very high velocity (250 km/h). It

increases slightly with the load. It is interesting to highlight that the relaxation length is almost

constant with respect to the ratio between the frequency of the sideslip angle oscillation and the

forward velocity V. This ratio is called the path frequency and represents the number of cycles per

meter of forward motion.

On the other hand the values of the relaxation length of the camber force in some experimental

tests has been found to be almost negligible. However, further experimental results are needed to

verify this behavior.

Fig. 2-23 Lateral force as a function of the distance covered by the wheel.

2.6.1 Se l f-al i gnm e nt m om e nt

The distribution of the lateral shear stress generated by the lateral slip of the tire is not symmetric.

The resulting force is therefore applied at a point situated at a certain distance from the center of the

patch, a center which, in a first approximation, can be assumed to coincide with the theoretical contact

point of the rigid toroid with the road plane. The distance at is designated the trail of the tire or

pneumatic trail. It is clear from Fig. 2-24 that the lateral force generates a moment that tends to rotate

the tire in such a way as to diminish the slip angle. For this reason this moment is called the selfaligning moment of the tire.

The self-aligning moment Mz is expressed as the product of the cornering force Fs and the trail of

the tire at.

Mz = at Fs

Experimental results show that the trail is at a maximum when the slip angle is zero; that it decreases

with an increase in the slip angle until it reaches zero, and that it increases with increases in the

vertical load. It can be approximately expressed in terms of the slip angle by the following linear

equation:

where ato represents the maximum value of the tire trail ( ranges from 1.5 to 5 cm) and max the

slip angle at which the tire trail becomes zero.

Figure 2-25 represents the typical variation of the sideslip force, of the pneumatic trail and of the

self-aligning moment as a function of the slip. When the slip angle reaches the value max (about 15)

the moment is zero since the lateral force passes through the center of the patch because the sliding

zone covers the whole patch.

Fig. 2-25 Example of measured variation of the lateral force, pneumatic trail and self-aligning

moment versus sideslip angle. Camber angle=0, Front nominal load =1300 N, rear nominal

load=1400 N.

2.6.2 Twi s ti ng m om e nt

Consider an inclined wheel that rolls over the road plane with angular velocity about the wheel

axis (Fig. 2-26).

We indicate with Co the point of intersection of the wheels axis with the road plane. If the turn

center point C of the circular trajectory described by the wheel coincides with the point Co, motion

occurs without longitudinal slippage (under kinematic conditions). In fact, the peripheral velocities of

the two points A and B of the tire, which are part of the patch, are equal to the forward velocities due

to the rotation of the wheel around the point C with angular velocity .

rA = RA

rB = RB

In reality, at free rolling the center of curvature C is always located externally with respect to the

point Co.

Suppose that at the midpoint of the patch the peripheral velocity is equal to the forward velocity:

In the most external area of the patch the peripheral velocity is greater than the forward velocity,

while in the interior area of the patch the contrary is true. Motion therefore occurs with slip, and two

zones can be distinguished in the patch: one with positive longitudinal slip velocity, and the other with

negative longitudinal slip velocity. Therefore, there are forward directed shear stress in the external

zone and backward directed shear stress in the internal zone.

These shear stresses generate a twisting moment that tends to move the wheel along a trajectory

with a smaller curvature radius, thereby acting to twist the wheel out of alignment. The twisting

moment is approximately proportional to the camber angle. A typical variation is represented in Fig.

2-27.

We have seen that two moments of opposite sign act on the tire: the self-aligning moment and the

twisting moment. Their sum defines the yawing moment of the tire, whose qualitative variation

against the sideslip angle, is shown in Fig. 2-28. The yawing moment Mz is zero when the slip and roll

angles are zero; it increases with increases in the roll angle and has a minimum corresponding to a

slip angle of = 2 to 6.

The driving force generates a moment that tends to align the plane of the tire in the direction of

velocity, while the braking force generates a moment of opposite sign which therefore moves it out

of alignment. The arm of the longitudinal force depends on the lateral deformation of the tire.

With respect to point Q the arm of the longitudinal force also depends on the radius of the cross

section and the camber angle.

In general, the lateral deformation sp, has a negligible value with respect to the lateral displacement

s of the contact point of the tire.

2.7 Com bi ne d l ate ral and l ongi tudi nal force s : the fri cti on e l l i ps e

The longitudinal force Fx, either driving (positive value of Fx) or braking (negative value of Fx), is

assumed to be assigned since it is controlled by the rider.

The lateral force Fy that can be exercised is reduced by the simultaneous presence of the longitudinal

force.

Their resultant must be within the friction ellipse that has the maximum values longitudinal, and

, lateral respectively, when they act alone:

where is the longitudinal traction coefficient and is the lateral traction coefficient. For this

reason the formula that yields the lateral force is multiplied by a correction coefficient that depends

on the longitudinal force applied:

Figure 2-31 shows the variation of the normalized lateral force curves with the variation of the

longitudinal force applied.

Fig. 2-31 Variation of the normalized lateral force for various values of the longitudinal force (roll

angle = 0).

Fig. 2-32 Lateral and longitudinal forces for various values of longitudinal slip and sideslip

(roll angle = 0).

The interaction between the longitudinal and lateral forces can be shown by representing the

constant lateral slip curves and constant longitudinal slip curves in a diagram that has as its ordinate

the normalized lateral force Fy/N and as its abscissa the normalized longitudinal force Fx/N.

The curves for constant longitudinal slippage and constant lateral slip are represented in Fig. 2-32.

Example 3

Consider a motorcycle braking as it enters a curve. Suppose that the rear wheel has a normalized

longitudinal force equal to 0.75 and a normalized lateral force equal to 0.53 (point A), which

correspond to a sideslip angle of 3.5.

If the braking is suddenly stopped, the lateral force corresponding to a 3.5 slip angle is increased

sharply, there is motion from point A to point C. The lateral force generated by the slip is now equal

to 0.78, which is greater than the 0.53 needed for equilibrium. Since the motorcycle is tilted, the

sudden increase in the lateral force generates an acceleration of the vehicle that tends to be returned to

the vertical position and to project the rider upward (high-side fall). The lateral slip diminishes until it

reaches the value needed for equilibrium (Point B).

When lateral and vertical forces are applied to the tire, both lateral and radial elastic deformation

of the carcass arise. Additionally the driving/braking force generates, in the longitudinal plane, a

deformation that mainly consists in a relative rotation between the rim and the carcass. Because of tire

deformation, the contact is no longer dot shaped, but involves a contact patch surface whose form

depends on the camber angle, on the load and on the inflation pressure.

The length and width of the contact patch of motorcycle tires change in a rather regular manner

with the vertical load and camber angle as long as the contact patch is not very large (large loads) and

the camber angle does not approach 40-45. The effect of inflation pressure on contact patch is

important if it is lower than the nominal value 2-2.5 bar

Fig. 2-34 The effect of camber angle on contact patch shape. [Rear tire Fz = 2000 N and p = 2 bar ].

In the road plane the tire changes footprint and the contact point moves laterally depending on the

geometry of the carcass as shown in Fig. 2-34.

In the presence of camber, a pure vertical load induced both horizontal and vertical deflection of

the carcass. However, by expressing results with respect to the wheel cambered reference frame, the

relationships between forces and deformations are simpler. In fact the elastic properties of the carcass

can be effectively described by means of a pair of springs which act in the radial direction Z and the

lateral direction Y, as shown in the Fig.2-35.

Typical values of structural lateral stiffnesses ranges from 100 kN/m to 250 kN/m while radial

stiffnesses range from 100 kN/m to 200 kN/m.

Nowadays multi-body codes make it possible to calculate the points of contact between the road and

the motorcycle equipped with rigid or elastic toroidal tires. Hence in the tire model the forces can be

applied in the area around the point of contact between the road and the toroidal tire.

The model of the motorcycle tire takes into consideration the forces acting on points near the

theoretical contact point defined by the tires geometry.

The forces under consideration are as follows:

Normal force. Normal force is applied at a point that precedes, by the distance d, the position of the

theoretical contact point. The distance d depends on the rolling resistance coefficient and the tires

radius:

d = fwR

Lateral force. Lateral force acts in the direction orthogonal to the intersection of the wheel plane

with the road plane. The application point is displaced backwards with respect to the theoretical

contact point by a distance at that represents the tires trail, which varies with the sideslip angle.

Longitudinal force. The force is applied to a point displaced laterally from the theoretical contact

point because of the tires lateral deformability. The lateral displacement sp, depending on the lateral

stiffness of the tire, is generally negligible with respect to the geometric displacement s deriving

from the roll inclination of the wheel.

The moments acting around the x, y and z -axes are generated by the forces described above and by

the twisting moment.

Overturning moment. The overturning moment Mx is generated by the vertical load N whose arm is

the lateral deformation sp.

Mx = spN

Rolling resistance moment. Rolling resistance moment is generated by the asymmetric distribution

of normal stresses that causes a forward displacement of vertical load. The tires rolling resistance

moment is:

My =d N

Yawing moment. Yawing moment includes two contributions. The first term, due to the lateral force,

tends to align the plane of the tire in the direction of velocity. The second term increases with the

camber angle and works against alignment.

Mz = atFs + Mt

Fig. 2-37 shows a motorcycle tire modeled with virtual prototyping. The tire, launched on the road at

a certain velocity and with an initial inclined orientation describes a trajectory that depends on the

tires characteristics and in particular:

on the component of the lateral force due to camber (function of the camber angle),

on the tires trail (function of the lateral slip),

on the twisting moment (function of the camber angle).

The graph in Fig. 2-37 shows the various trajectories described by the tire. If the component of the

lateral force due to camber is zero, equilibrium is assured only by the component generated by lateral

slip. Lateral slip is therefore always greater than that present in the reference case. Because of the

greater lateral slip, the trajectory covered is more external than that of the reference case. The

reduction of the tires trail to zero also reduces to zero the self-aligning moment generated by the

lateral force. The trajectory described is therefore more inner with respect to that of the reference

case. The twisting moment, depending on the camber angle, has a significant influence on the tires

behavior. Since its effects work against alignment, that is, it tends to cause the tire to yaw more, its

zeroing causes a large change in the trajectory covered. The tire moves along a path characterized by

a notably larger curvature radius.

The dynamic properties of tires have an important influence on several features of motorcycle

behaviour such as comfort, shock-absorption and braking, which are related to in-plane dynamics,

along with stability and handling, which are related to out-of-plane dynamics.

Motorcycle tires modes of vibration can be divided into in-plane modes, out-of-plane modes and

mixed modes. In-plane modes are characterised by radial and/or circumferential displacement of the

points located in the symmetry plane of the wheel. Out-of-plane modes are dominated by lateral

displacement of the points located in the symmetry plane of the wheel. Mixed modes exhibit

combinations of radial, circumferential and lateral displacement.

In plane modes can be classified according to number n of circumferential waves: the n= 0 mode

does not exhibit any circumferential wave and is a breath mode; the n=1 mode exhibits one

circumferential wave and is essentially a displacement of tire tread with respect to the rim; the n=2

mode exhibits two circumferential waves and the tread has an oval shape.

In-plane modes are the most excited modes, since in steady state conditions (rectilinear path) the

resultant of tire forces (load N, braking force F and driving force S) stays approximately in the

symmetry plane of the wheel. If a coordinate system fixed to the wheel is considered, the resultant of

tire forces rotates around the wheel with angular velocity = V/Ro , where Ro is the tire rolling

radius and V is forward speed. The rotating force may excite in resonance conditions the

circumferential mode that exhibits n circumferential waves if the following condition is satisfied:

=2j /n

where j is the natural frequency of the mode.

The presence of road unevenness and grooves on the tire surface are other sources of excitation in

the high frequency range. Finally, the transient maneuvers (e.g. braking, changing lanes), which

correspond to sudden variations in tire forces and torques, may excite both in-plane and out-of-plane

modes.

Generally, the first natural frequencies of tires are in the range 100200 Hz and correspond to outof-plane modes, then there is sometimes a band of frequency with mixed modes, when the frequency

is higher than 300400 Hz, the modes with large in-plane displacement dominate.

Fig. 2-39 Example of vibration modes of the tires (with ground contact).

Natural frequencies, loss factors and mode shapes strongly depend on tire size, construction

(radial-ply, bias-ply) and material. The comparison between the modal properties of radial-ply and

bias-ply motorcycle tires shows that natural frequencies of radial-ply tires are higher than the ones of

the similar modes of bias-ply tires; the difference is large especially in the case of in-plane modes.

The presence of contact with the ground increases the complexity of modes and, between the modes

that were measured in free conditions, new modes having intermediate shape and frequency appear.

The range of natural frequencies and loss factors of the modes in contact with the ground are not very

different from the ones measured in free conditions.

Figure 2-39 shows the natural frequencies and modes of a 120/65 R17 front tire inflated to 2.2 bars.

This tire is a high performance radial-ply tire with 0 steel belts. The first out-of-plane mode is the

lateral displacement of the tire tread with respect to the rim. Then there is a banana-shaped mode (with

1.5 waves in the lateral direction and minor displacements in the other directions). The first in-plane

mode (410 Hz) is essentially an in-plane displacement of tire tread and derives from the n=1 mode

measured in free condition (without contact).

The following modes (422 and 447 Hz) derive from the modes with two circumferential waves

(n=2) and three circumferential waves (n=3) measured in free conditions. Because of the high

circumferential rigidity of the 0 steel belt, the breath mode is not identified in the 0-500 Hz range of

frequencies. The natural frequencies are higher than those of car tires. Loss factors of in-plane modes

are similar to those measured in car tires. Loss factors of out-of-plane modes are higher than the ones

of in-plane modes, because they are mainly influenced by the tires side-walls.

The behavior of motorcycles during rectilinear motion depends on the longitudinal forces

exchanged between the tires and the road, the aerodynamic forces induced through this motion, and

the slope of the road plane. The study of rectilinear motion highlights certain dynamic aspects that are

also important for safety, such as the motorcycles behavior during braking with possible forward

overturning, and in acceleration, with possible wheeling.

During steady state motion, the thrust produced by the engine is equated to the forces that oppose

forward motion and depend essentially on three phenomena (Fig. 3-1):

resistance to tire rolling;

aerodynamic resistance to forward motion;

the component of the weight force caused by the slope of the road plane.

Resistance to tire rolling, Fw, was amply discussed in the previous chapter. It was seen that it could

generally be considered equal to about 2% of the weight force.

All the aerodynamic influences that act on the motorcycle can be represented by three forces, which

are assumed to be applied on the center of gravity, and by three moments acting around the center of

gravity axes x, y, z, as shown in Fig. 3-2:

the drag force, in opposition to forward motion;

the lift force that tends to raise the motorcycle;

the lateral force that pushes the motorcycle sideways;

the pitching moment;

the yawing moment;

the rolling moment.

The most important components are the drag and lift forces. They are applied at a point, called the

pressure center, which does not coincide with the center of gravity, but rather is generally located

above it. The resultant of the two aerodynamic forces therefore generates a pitching moment around

the y-axis.

The drag force influences both the maximum attainable velocity and performance in acceleration.

The drag force FD is approximately proportional to the square of the motorcycles forward velocity:

represents the density of the air (equal to 1.167 kg/m3 at an atmospheric pressure of 987 mbar

and a temperature of 20 C);

A is the frontal area of the motorcycle;

CD represents the coefficient of aerodynamic resistance (drag coefficient);

V is the forward velocity of the motorcycle.

The value of the coefficient CD is strongly influenced by the shape of the motorcycle, in particular

by the presence or lack of a fairing. In general, it can be stated that there is a significant increase in

aerodynamic resistance when vortex wakes are formed and the boundary layer breaks from the

surface of the fairing.

The interaction of the motorcycle with air also generates a lift force FL proportional to the square

of the velocity, which reduces the load on the front and in some cases the rear wheel:

Motorcycle lift is dangerous since it reduces the load on the wheels and, thus, tire adherence. This

is especially true regarding the front tire since the center of pressure is generally in front of and

above the center of gravity. Typical motorcycles generate positive (upward) lift force, however, in

order to counteract this phenomenon and increase load on the wheels, it would be necessary affix

some sort of wing at the front of the motorcycle as in the case of racing cars. To lessen the undesired

lift effects, modern fairings are designed to reduce lift to a minimum.

The aerodynamic characteristics of motorcycles are given by the drag area CDA (drag coefficient

times the frontal area) and by the lift area CLA (lift coefficient times the frontal area).

The value of the product CDA can vary from 0.18 m2 for speed record contenders that are

completely faired to 0.7 m2 for motorcycles with no fairing and the rider in an erect position.

typical value for super bike motorcycles is 0.30 to 0.35 m2, while Grand Prix motorcycles reach

0.22 m2 or even smaller values. Touring and/or sporting motorcycles with a small front fairing have

values around 0.4 to 0.5 m2. The change from an erect to a prone riding position leads to a reduction

in the value of the product CDA that varies from 5 to 20%, depending on the type of motorcycle and

the rider s body structure.

The resistance to forward motion is influenced in different ways by the various motorcycle

components. For example, the following are the effects of some components on the product CDA:

front fairings produce an improvement ranging from 0.02 to 0.08 m2;

side fairings decrease the CDA by a quantity of approximately 0.15 m2;

side mirrors increase the drag area from 0.012 to 0.025 m2;

the presence of a rear fairing improves it by a factor of 0.015 m2;

the saddlebags, if appropriately designed, improve it by 0.02 m2;

a lower spoiler improves it by a factor that varies from 0.01 to 0.02 m2.

The frontal area A differs according to the type of motorcycle and is strongly influenced by the

body of the rider and his/her position during travel. Reference values may vary from 0.6 to 0.9 m2 for

large displacement touring motorcycles, from 0.40 to 0.6 m2 for sporting models and from 0.4 to 0.5

m2 for Grand Prix motorcycles. Small displacement Grand Prix class motorcycles (125 cc) reach

values around 0.32 m2. If the frontal area A and the product CDA values are known, the resistance

coefficient CD, which is usually on the order of 0.4 to 0.5, can be evaluated. The product of the lift

coefficient times the frontal area of the section CLA ranges from 0.06 to 0.12 m2.

The pitching moment caused by the aforementioned forces can be dangerous, since it leads to a

decrease in the load on the front wheel and an increase in the rear one. These variations can

significantly modify the dynamic behavior of the motorcycle.

In rectilinear motion, if there is no crosswind, the x-z plane of the motorcycle with rider is the

plane of symmetry and the forward velocity of the motorcycle lies in that plane. The lateral

aerodynamic force and the rolling and yawing moments are zero. However, they are not zero if the

rider moves from a symmetric position, if there is lateral wind, or if the sideslip angles of the tires

are not zero. In particular, when the rider moves into the curve, displacing his or her body and knee

towards the inside of the curve, an aerodynamic yawing moment is generated helping the motorcycle

move into the curve. During the curve if the rider stays in this leaned position the lateral aerodynamic

force persists.

Since the power dissipated by the aerodynamic forces depends on the cube of the velocity, a lot of

power is needed to attain high velocities. Figure 3-3 shows the variation of the drag force against

velocity for various values of the drag area.

The forces and aerodynamic moments can be measured in a wind tunnel by mounting the

motorcycle on a force balance. The wind tunnel tests make it possible to identify the presence of

vortices, if any, and the current lines surrounding the motorcycle. Smoke is used to visualize the

current lines, as can be seen in Fig. 3-4.

Fig. 3-4 Current lines surrounding the windscreen and rider (University of Perugia wind tunnel).

If no wind tunnel is available, the drag area CDA can be determined in the following ways. The

motorcycle can be driven at its maximum velocity on a straight road recording the engine RPM

(revolutions per minute) and the maximum velocity. The power, corresponding to the number of

revolutions measured, is determined by the dynamometer curve. The product of the drag coefficient

times the frontal area is:

without considering the rolling resistance. There can be significant errors if the maximum velocity is

not determined correctly or if the actual power of the motorcycle does not correspond to the

dynamometer curve used for the calculation..

A second approach is as follows. The motorcycle can be driven on a flat road at a sustained

velocity and then placed in neutral. The time t that the motorcycle needs to slow down from an

initial velocity (Vinitial ) to a lower one (Vend ) is measured and the drag area is given by:

There can be a certain operative difficulty trying to idle at a sustained velocity. Furthermore, the

mass m should, strictly speaking, also take into account the rotating inertia.

Example 1

What power is required to push a sport motorcycle (CDA = 0.35) to a velocity of 250 km/h and 275

km/h, taking into account both the rolling resistance force and the drag force?

The power on the wheel for a maximum velocity of 250 km/h is 71.1 kW. To increase the

maximum velocity by 10% (275 km/h), a 32% increase in power is necessary (94.0 kW).

The resistant force FP caused by the slope of the road plane is equal to the component of the weight

force in the motorcycles direction:

FP = mg sin

where represents the slope of the road plane.

The graph in Fig. 3-5 displays the curves of different power levels at the wheel versus the velocity

and the road slope.

Fig. 3-5 Power at the wheel (kW) as a function of the forward velocity and road slope.

Example 2

Consider a motorcycle with the following characteristics:

mass:

m = 200 kg;

frontal area:

A = 0.6 m2;

What is the driving force and power necessary to sustain the velocity under the conditions given?

Case 1: Flat road traveling at 200km/h.

The driving force necessary to maintain the motorcycle at a constant velocity of 200 km/h or 55.6 m/s

along a horizontal road ( = 0) must be equal to the sum of the aerodynamic resistance force FD and

the rolling resistance force Fw:

FD = 0.51.1670.60.755.62 = 756.4 N

Fw = 0.022009.8 = 39.2 N

S = FD + Fw = 795.6 N

For this value of the driving force, the power at the wheel (P) is equal to:

P = 796.8 N 55.6 m/s = 44.20 kW

Case 2: Uphill road at 200km/h.

If the motorcycle travels at the same velocity, but along a road with a constant slope of 12% (angle

= 6.84) the resistant force caused by the slope of the road plane must also be taken into account.

resistant force caused by the road slope: FP = sin (6.84)2009.8 = 233.5 N

In this case the required driving force is:

S = FD + Fw + FP = 1029.1 N

For this value of the driving force, the power at the wheel (P) is equal to:

P = 1029.1 N55.6 m/s = 57.2 kW

3.2.1 Motorcycl e ce nte r of gravi ty

The position of a motorcycles center of gravity has a significant influence on the motorcycles

dynamic behavior. Its position depends on the distribution and quantity of the masses of the individual

components of the motorcycle (engine, tank, battery, exhaust pipes, radiators, wheels, fork, frame,

etc.). Since the engine is the heaviest component (about 25% of the total mass), its location greatly

influences the location of the motorcycles center of gravity.

The longitudinal distance b between the contact point of the rear wheel and the center of gravity can

easily be determined by measuring the total mass of the motorcycle and the loads on the wheels under

static conditions (front load , rear load Nsr ):

In general, a motorcycle is characterized by the static loads that act on the wheels, expressed in a

percentage formula:

The distribution of the load on the two wheels under static conditions is generally greater on the front

wheel for racing motorcycles (50-57% front, 43-50% rear); and conversely, it is greater on the rear

wheel in the case of touring or sport motorcycles (43-50% front, 50-57% rear).

When the center of gravity is more forward (front load >50%), wheeling the motorcycle becomes

more difficult, or in other words, there is an easier transfer of the power to the ground. This is one

reason racing motorcycles are more heavily loaded in front. In addition, the greater load in the front

partially compensates for the aerodynamic effects that unload the front wheel; this fact becomes

important at high velocities. When the position of the center of gravity is more towards the rear of the

motorcycle, braking capacity is increased reducing the danger of a stoppie or even forward flip

over during a sudden stop with the front brake.

Modern sport motorcycles tend to have a 50 50% distribution so as to perform well in both

acceleration and braking phases. It is important to keep in mind that it is preferable, as a question of

safety, to have longitudinal slip of the rear wheel in an acceleration phase, rather than longitudinal

slip of the front wheel in a braking phase. The ratio b/p without rider varies from 0.35 to 0.51: the

smallest values for the scooter and the highest for racing motorcycles.

In general, the position of the rider moves the overall center of gravity towards the rear (Fig. 3-7),

and therefore, his or her presence increases the load on the rear wheel thereby diminishing the

percentage of load on the front wheel (for example the ratio b / p goes from 0.53 to 0.50).

Fig. 3-7 The position of the center of gravity of the motorcycle and the rider.

Once the longitudinal position of the center of gravity has been found, its height can be determined

by measuring the load on only one wheel, for example, the rear one with the front wheel raised by a

known amount as in Fig. 3-8.

The height of the center of gravity has a significant influence on the dynamic behavior of a

motorcycle, especially in the acceleration and braking phases. A high center of gravity, during the

acceleration phase, leads to a larger load transfer from the front to the rear wheel. The greater load

on the rear wheel increases the driving force that can be applied on the ground, but the lesser load on

the front wheel makes wheeling more probable.

In braking, a higher center of gravity causes a greater load on the front wheel and a resulting lower

load on the rear. The greater load on the front wheel improves braking but it also makes the forward

flip-over more likely, which occurs when the rear wheel is completely unloaded.

The optimal height of the center of gravity also depends on the driving/braking traction coefficient

between the tires and road plane. With low values of the driving /braking traction coefficient (when

the road is wet and/or dirty) it is good to have a high center of gravity to improve both the

acceleration and braking capacities. With high values of the driving/braking traction coefficient it is

good to have a lower center of gravity in order to avoid the limit conditions of wheeling and forward

flip over.

It is clear that the choice of the height of the center of gravity and its longitudinal position is a

compromise that must take into account the intended use and power of the motorcycle. All-terrain

motorcycles are characterized by rather high centers of gravity, while very powerful motorcycles

typically have a lower center of gravity. The main effects of the location of the center of gravity may

be summarized in the following diagram:

Forward center of

gravity

The motorcycle tends to over-steer (in curves the rear wheel slips laterally

to a greater extent).

Rear center of

gravity

The motorcycle tends to under-steer (in curves the front wheel slips

laterally to a greater extent).

High center of

gravity

The front wheel tends to lift in acceleration. The rear wheel may lift in

braking.

Low center of

gravity

The rear wheel tends to slip in acceleration. The front wheel tends to slip in

braking.

The height of the center of gravity of the motorcycle alone has values varying from 0.4 to 0.55 m,

but the presence of the rider raises the center of gravity to values ranging from 0.5 to 0.7 m.

Obviously, the displacement of the center of gravity due the presence of the rider depends on the

relation between the mass of the rider and that of the motorcycle.

The ratio h/p without rider and with fully extended suspension varies in the range 0.3-0.4; the smallest

values for the cruiser and scooter and the highest for dual sport and enduro type motorcycles.

Example 3

A motorcycle with a mass of 196 kg has a static weight distribution (50% to 50%) and a 1390 mm

wheelbase. A 77 kg rider mass has his own center of gravity at 600 mm from the center of the rear

wheel. How does the rider change the overall percentage weight distribution?

The percentage load on the rear wheel with rider increases to 52%, while that on the front wheel is

reduced to 48%.

The dynamic behavior of a motorcycle also depends on the inertia of the motorcycle and the rider.

The measurement of the moments of inertia is based on complex identification methodologies, which

are outside the purpose of this book. The most important moments of inertia are the roll, pitch and

yaw moments of the main frame, the moment of inertia of the front frame with respect to the steering

axis, the moments of the wheels and the inertia moment of the engine. In the following table, the

values of the gyration radii of the motorcycle and rider, with respect to the center of gravity, are

presented (the moment of inertia is given by the product of the mass times the square of the radius of

gyration).

The yaw moment of inertia influences the maneuverability of the motorcycle. In particular, high

values of the yaw moment (obtained, for example by heavy baggage placed on the luggage rack)

reduce handling. The roll moment of inertia influences the speed of the motorcycle in roll motion.

High values of the roll inertia, maintaining the same height of the center of gravity, slow down the

roll motion in both entry and exit of a curve.

Table 3-1.

We will introduce the following three hypotheses regarding the model of the motorcycle-rider

system depicted in Fig. 3-10.

the rolling resistance force is zero (Fw = 0);

the aerodynamic lift force FL is also considered zero;

since the road surface is flat, the force resisting the forward motion of the motorcycle is reduced

to just the aerodynamic drag force FD.

The pressure center of the motorcycle (in which the drag force is applied) coincides with its center of

gravity.

In addition to the drag force, the following forces act on a motorcycle:

the weight mg that acts at its center of gravity;

the driving force S, which the ground applies to the motorcycle at the contact point of the rear

wheel;

the vertical reaction forces Nf and Nr exchanged between the tires and the road plane.

The equations of equilibrium of a motorcycle enable us to determine the unknown values of the

reaction forces Nf and Nr, once the weight force mg , driving force S, and drag force FD _are known.

S FD = 0

mg Nr N f =0

Sh Nrb + Nf(pb) = 0

The vertical forces exchanged between the tires and the road plane are therefore:

dynamic load on the front wheel:

The first term (static load on the wheel), depends on the distribution of the weight force.

The second term (load transfer), is directly proportional to the driving force S and the height h of

the center of gravity, and inversely proportional to the motorcycles wheelbase p.

We will now focus on the second term. Load transfer refers to the fact that there is a decrease in

the load on the front wheel and a corresponding increase in the load on the rear wheel; load is

transferred from the front to the rear wheel, hence the designation.

The ratio between the height of the center of gravity and the wheelbase is much higher in

motorcycles than in cars, where h/ p is usually in the interval 0.3 to 0.45.

The loads on the wheels can be represented in non-dimensional form with respect to the weight:

Normalized load on the front wheel:

where Sa indicates the ratio between the driving force S and the total weight mg (non-dimensional

driving force).

Figure 3-11 illustrates the phenomenon of load transfer. The variations in the normalized loads are

indicated as a function of the normalized driving force for two motorcycles with the following

characteristics.

The 1st motorcycle b/ p = 0.45 and h/ p = 0.3 .

The 2nd motorcycle b/ p = 0.45 and h/ p = 0.43 .

It can be observed that the variations in the loads on the wheels are greater for the motorcycle having

the higher h/ p value.

Fig. 3-11 Normalized loads on the wheels as a function of normalized driving force (b/ p = 0.45).

Now lets consider the forces acting on the motorcycle, illustrated in Fig. 3-12. The weight mg is

equal to the sum of the static loads acting on the wheels and . The driving force S and the force

caused by the transfer of the load Ntr, turned upward because it has a positive sign, are applied at the

rear wheel contact point.

The direction of the resultant of these two forces is inclined with respect to the road by the angle:

In order for a motorcycle to maintain equilibrium, this resultant force must be equal to and

opposite in sign to the resultant of the drag force FD and the load transfer Ntr, which acts on the front

wheel (directed downward because it has negative sign).

Example 4

What maximum velocity can be reached by a 200 kg motorcycle (CDA = 0.3) with a driving traction

coefficient equal to 1.0, ignoring the lift and rolling resistance forces?

The maximum hypothetical forward velocity of the motorcycle depends on the load transfer from

the front to the rear wheel. When the front wheel is completely unloaded, and thus the whole load

moves to the rear wheel, the limiting condition is reached when maximum velocity is attained. Under

these conditions, the maximum driving force that can be applied with a driving force coefficient equal

to 1.0 is equal to 1962 . This force is equal to the drag force and generates a velocity of 381 km/h.

The power on the rear wheel is 208 kW.

Example 5

Calculate the maximum velocity at a motorcycles limit condition represented by the wheeling

phenomena, supposing that the center of the pressures coincides with the center of gravity.

mass:

m = 200 kg;

lift area:

longitudinal distance of the center of gravity: b = 0.7 m;

height of the center of gravity:

h = 0.65 m;

wheelbase:

p = 1.40 m.

In conditions approaching the limit of wheeling phenomena, the front vertical load becomes zero.

The sum of the load transfer generated by the drag force and the front component of the lift force are

equal to the front static load. If we consider that the center of pressure coincides with the center of

gravity, the lift force is distributed equally between the two wheels in the motorcycle under

consideration. We therefore have:

The maximum velocity is therefore V = 339 km/h. The power at the rear wheel, ignoring the rolling

resistance force should be at least 147 kW. At this velocity the front wheel is totally unloaded, so that

it becomes impossible to control the motorcycle. This value should therefore be considered a

We would like to consider a motorcycle in transitory rectilinear motion assuming the hypotheses

presented in the preceding paragraph to be valid. The motorcycles equilibrium equations which were

written for steady state motion can still be considered valid for vertical translation and rotation.

mg Nr N f =0

Sh Nr b + N f ( p b) = 0

where S indicates the driving force during acceleration (+) or the braking force during deceleration

(-).

The equation of equilibrium for a motorcycle in horizontal motion takes on certain characteristics

according to whether the motorcycle is in an acceleration or braking phase.

In this case, the driving force is equal to the sum of the inertial and resistance forces.

() Equilibrium of the horizontal forces: S* = FD + m*

where S* = T ( m /V) is the equivalent driving force obtained by multiplying T, the engine torque, by

m / V , the ratio between the engine speed and the forward velocity, and m* indicates the equivalent

mass of a motorcycle, which also takes into account the elements of rotational inertia. The latter is

calculated by equating the total kinetic energy of the motorcycle (the sum of rotational kinetic energy

of the rotating parts and the kinetic energy of translation) to the kinetic energy of an

equivalent system constituted by one mass m* (equivalent mass). From the viewpoint of dynamics, the

motion law of the equivalent mass is equal to that of a real motorcycle (Fig. 3-13).

Equating the kinetic energies, we have the following expression.

Where:

m

is the inertia of the engine (crankshaft, counter-rotation shafts) , reduced to the crankshaft.

This inertia can be considered constant in an initial approximation if we ignore the fluctuating

terms of the masses having reciprocating motion.

The ratio of the angular velocity of the rear wheel and a motorcycles forward velocity is:

The ratio between the angular velocity of the front wheel and a motorcycles forward velocity is:

The ratio between the angular velocity of the secondary shaft and a motorcycles forward velocity is:

wheres,r indicates the transmission ratio between the pinion and rear sprockets.

The ratio between the velocity of the primary gear shaft and the velocity of a motorcycle is:

where p,s is the transmission ratio between the primary and secondary gear shafts. The drive

sprocket is keyed on the secondary shaft.

The ratio between the velocity of the engine shaft and a motorcycles forward velocity is:

where m, p indicates the transmission ratio between the engine crank shaft and primary shaft.

As is the case of steady state motion, the dynamic loads on the wheels are given by the equations:

dynamic load on the front wheel:

Example 6

Consider a racing motorcycle with the following characteristics. What is the equivalent mass?

m = 205 kg;

Rf = 0.30 m;

Rr = 0.32 m;

s,r = 2.6;

transmission ratio for the primary-secondary gear shafts: p,s = 0.9 (in IV gear);

r = 3.125 ;

f = 3.33 ;

m, p = 2.

Once the velocity ratios are known, it is possible to calculate the equivalent mass m* as follows:

It is worth pointing out that the engine plays a very important role since the velocity ratio is high,

even if the value in the moment of inertia is low.

The equivalent mass obviously depends on the gear engaged. The transmission ratio of the gear

shift varies from values equal to about 3 for the first gear (the gearshift functions as a reduction

gear), to values that can approach or be slightly lower than unity (down to about 0.7) in the tallest

gear. The maximum value of reduced inertia is reached when first gear is engaged.

Figure 3-14 shows the variation of the driving force on the wheel versus velocity, in the various

gears, for a racing motorcycle. The curve traced also shows the variation in the resistance force (the

sum of aerodynamic and rolling resistance forces) in terms of the motorcycles velocity.

Lets suppose that the motorcycle proceeds in third gear at a determined velocity, as given in the

figure. The driving force, though lower than the maximum available in that gear, is greater than the

resistance force, so that the remaining driving force can be used to accelerate or go up a slope at the

same velocity. If we consider the same set velocity with higher ratios, we see that there is less driving

force available for accelerating. As the velocity gradually increases, the passage to the higher ratio

makes a lower quota available. Maximum velocity is obviously reached when the resistant force is the

same as the driving force in the highest gear.

The comparison between the driving force curves and the resistance curve can also be made in

terms of power. A diagram of useful power to the wheel can be obtained for each ratio by multiplying

each curve by its corresponding forward velocity. Fig. 3-15 shows the curves of useful power to the

wheel and the resistance power in terms of forward velocity. In this case as well, the intersection point

of the resistance power curve with the useful power curve, in the highest gear, determines the

maximum velocity that can be reached.

Lets now suppose that the engine power remains constant under an increase in velocity. This is an

ideal case in which the efficiencies are independent of the velocities, represented in Figure 3-15 by a

horizontal line. Maximum motorcycle acceleration can be determined by integrating the following

differential equation:

where Pmax indicates the maximum power of the engine. By carrying out the numerical integration of

the preceding differential equation, we can calculate the maximum acceleration the motorcycle is

capable of reaching. This is clearly an ideal value, since the maximum acceleration of the motorcycle

can actually be limited both by the rear tires adherence, the possible wheeling of the motorcycle and

the finite number of gears etc.

Example 7

Consider a motorcycle with the following characteristics. Let use examine how changing the mass

affects the velocity and acceleration.

Equivalent mass: m* = 230.9 kg;

frontal area:

A = 0.6 m2 ;

drag coefficient:

CD = 0.7.

The maximum power of the engine is equal to Pmax = 70 kW while the maximum transmissible

driving force to the road is equal to 4000 .

The curve of the velocity versus time, obtained by carrying out a numerical integration of the

differential equation of motion, is given in Fig. 3-16. A 30% lighter motorcycle presents a greater

acceleration but the maximum velocity remains the same.

In reality the accelerations (the gradient of the curve) are actually lower because of the time

intervals needed to change gears, during which the useful driving force is zero. Furthermore, in the

initial phase, as previously anticipated, it is not always possible to apply the entire driving force

because of rear tire slippage and/or possible wheeling.

If we take into consideration a motorcycle accelerating as in Fig. 3-17 and assume it is possible to

ignore the rolling resistance force Fw , then the motion equation can be written as follows:

S = m + FD

where S indicates the driving force on the wheel and FD the drag force. Presuming that the engine has

adequate power, the driving force must be lower, or at most, equal to the maximum force given by the

product of the driving traction coefficient p with the vertical load Nr .

S p N r

If we remember that

we now have:

Maximum acceleration is reached when the resistance force FD is zero, i.e. starting from low speed.

As the velocity increases, the acceleration under limiting friction conditions diminishes. This happens

because part of the driving force is equated to the resistance force and therefore cannot be used to

accelerate.

The limiting condition at the onset of wheeling is achieved when the load on the front wheel is

reduced to zero, as seen in Fig. 3-18. This situation is expressed by the following relation:

Acceleration which corresponds to impending wheelie therefore depends on the ratio b/h.

As the forward velocity gradually increases, the acceleration at which the wheeling phenomenon

begins, decreases. This is the case since the motion of wheeling is also favored by the drag force FD,

the value of which increases with velocity.

Example 8

Consider a motorcycle with the following properties. Determine the wheeling limited acceleration at

initial speed 0 km/h and 100 km/h.

total mass:

m = 200 kg;

frontal area:

A = 0.7 m2;

drag coefficient:

CD = 0.6 ;

lift coefficient :

CL = 0;

height of the center of gravity:

h = 0.62 m;

wheelbase:

p = 1.35 m.

The maximum acceleration of the motorcycle, at the rear wheel friction limit, is represented in the

graph in Fig. 3-19 in terms of the driving force coefficient between the tire and the road at a velocity

of zero and 100 km/h. As the velocity increases, the maximum acceleration decreases, since part of

the driving force is equated to the resistance force and cannot be used to accelerate.

The acceleration at the motorcycles wheeling limit at zero km/h and 100 km/h is also shown in the

graph. The horizontal line representing wheeling-limited acceleration is explained by the fact that

acceleration does not depend on the driving force coefficient.

The wheeling-limited acceleration is equal to the traction-limited acceleration when the driving

traction coefficient is:

Acceleration is:

For values of the coefficient below the ratio b/h, the motorcycle, in its acceleration maneuver, will

not lift the front wheel, since rear wheel slippage prevents it from reaching wheeling acceleration.

Analogously, for values of the coefficient above the ratio b/h, the motorcycle cannot reach maximum

acceleration at the driving traction coefficient since the front wheel rises before reaching that limiting

value. These considerations suggest that it is appropriate to limit the maximum torque the engine can

deliver, if the intention is to avoid motorcycle wheeling and rear wheel slippage.

In the case under consideration, the acceleration as shown in Fig. 3-19 is equal to 9.18 m/s2. This

value is obtained by applying a driving force equal to 1835 to the motorcycle. Whenever the

motorcycles engine is unable to deliver a useful force to the wheel of that magnitude, wheeling

cannot occur naturally (nonetheless, the rider could cause the front wheel to rise by moving and

making use of the pitching motion).

3.4.4 Braking

Driving safety requires, in addition to an efficient braking system, that the rider be able to judge the

stopping distance required under various conditions and brake in the best way, using all of the

braking systems possibilities and in particular those of the rear brake. In fact, many motorcycle

riders tend to forget the rear brake, which in certain circumstances provides a useful contribution. Its

correct use is important both in braking when entering a curve and in braking during rectilinear

motion when an unforeseen obstacle appears in front of the motorcycle (especially when road

adherence is precarious).

During curve entry the use of the rear brake can be quite useful. Expert riders use the rear brake not

only to decelerate the motorcycle but also to control the yaw motion. Rear braking in entering the

curve increases the sideslip angle and therefore the yaw motion of the motorcycle.

In sudden deceleration a dangerous condition could arise especially when the load on the rear

wheel diminishes toward zero due to load transfer.

If the motorcycle is not in perfectly straight running the force of the front brake and the inertial

force of deceleration generate a moment that tends to cause the motorcycle to yaw. This is illustrated

in Fig. 3-20.

Fig. 3-20 Motorcycle in a curve with a braking force applied only in the front.

As shown in the in Fig. 3-20, the torque generated by the front braking force and the inertial force

tends to yaw the vehicle. On the contrary, the presence of a rear braking force generates a torque

which tends to align and stabilize the vehicle as can be seen intuitively in Fig. 3-21.

Fig. 3-21 Motorcycle in a curve with a braking force applied only in the rear.

These simple considerations suggest that proper utilization of front and the rear brakes has a

positive effect on vehicle stability.

In order to evaluate the role of the rear brake during a braking event at the limit of slippage, we

need to bring up some points regarding the forces acting on a motorcycle. During deceleration, the

load on the front wheel increases, while that on the rear wheel decreases and thus there is a load

transfer from the rear to the front wheel. If we consider a motorcycle in a braking phase (Fig. 3-22)

and apply Newtons law to the motorcycle, we can calculate the load transfer from the rear to the

front wheel.

()

m = Ff Fr

()

mg Nr Nf =0

()

where F (overall braking force) indicates the sum of the front braking force Ff and the rear braking

force Fr. The dynamic load on the front wheel is equal to the sum of the static load and the load

transfer:

while the dynamic load on the rear wheel is equal to the difference between the static load and the load

transfer:

It can be seen that the load transfer Fh / p is proportional to the overall braking force, and to the

height of the center of gravity, and is inversely proportional to the wheelbase. To prevent a tire from

slipping during braking, the value of the braking force applied to it must not exceed the product of the

dynamic load acting on that tire times the local braking traction coefficient. This latter product

represents the maximum braking force applicable to the tire, that is, the braking force at the limit of

slippage.

Given and , the braking traction coefficients relative, respectively, to the front wheel and the

rear wheel, the overall braking force at the limit of slippage is given by the following expression:

The limits of slippage are not usually attained during braking and therefore the braking force

depends on the braking force coefficients used (indicated by and defined as the ratios of the

longitudinal force and the corresponding vertical load) of the front and rear wheels.

F = Ff + Fr = f Nf + r Nr

Figure 3-23 shows the variation of dynamic loads on the wheels in terms of the braking force. Both

the loads on the wheels and the braking force have been reduced to non-dimensional status with

respect to the weight. The motorcycle under consideration has a 50% to 50% static load distribution

on its two wheels, i.e. the center of gravity falls in the centerline of the wheelbase.

Lets suppose that the braking force coefficient used is very low, = 0.2 for both wheels. We can

note from the graph that the dynamic loads on the wheels are approximately equal to 0.4 on the rear

wheel and 0.6 on the front one. Under these conditions, if the rear brake is not used, 40% of the

maximum attainable braking force is not used. However, if the braking force coefficient used is very

high, for example = 0.9, as shown in Fig. 3-23, the load on the front wheel is 0.95, while the load on

the rear wheel is only 0.05. In this case, the possible contribution of the rear braking force is nearly

negligible.

In conclusion, the following general principles can be stated.

The optimal distribution of the braking force varies according to the braking traction

coefficient.

The rear brake is of little use on optimal roads and with high grip tires (high coefficient of

friction), but becomes indispensable on slippery surfaces (reduced coefficient of friction).

Fig. 3-23 Non-dimensional loads on the wheels versus the overall braking force coefficient.

Fig. 3.23 shows that, with an increase in the overall braking force, the load on the rear wheel

becomes zero. This limiting condition represents the forward flip over of the motorcycle when the

dynamic load on the rear wheel goes to zero.

In this situation, the dynamic load on the front wheel is equal to the weight of the motorcycle and

the direction of the resultant of the dynamic load and braking force passes through the motorcycles

center of gravity. The equation of equilibrium of the moments with respect to the center of gravity

provides the expression for the braking force at the point of turn over:

A low value of this limit braking force indicates an increased propensity for a forward flip over. It

can therefore be concluded that forward fall is favored when a motorcycle is light and when it has a

high and forward position of the center of gravity.

The motion equation, in conditions where a fall is imminent, ignoring the aerodynamic resistance,

is:

The maximum deceleration, expressed in g s, is proportional to the longitudinal distance from the

center of gravity to the contact point of the front wheel, and is inversely proportional to the height of

the center of gravity.

It is important to note that the deceleration at the flip over limit depends only on the position of the

center of gravity, and not on the weight of a motorcycle. To increase the value this limit, it is

necessary to lower a motorcycles center of gravity and place it as far back as possible. Taking into

account the aerodynamic resistant force:

m = F FD

the maximum deceleration depends on both the mass and the velocity:

Example 9

What is the maximum deceleration in braking to the limit of flip over, with a 50% to 50%

distribution of the loads on the wheels, a wheelbase of 1400 mm and a height of the center of gravity

of 700 mm?

It is easy to verify that the maximum deceleration is equal to gravity. If the velocity is also taken

into account, deceleration increases as the velocity increases due to the effect of the aerodynamic

resistance force. With a velocity of 100 km/h, a drag area equal to 0.4 m2 and a mass of 200 kg, the

maximum deceleration is equal to 1.26 g while at a velocity of 200 km/h the maximum deceleration

increases to 1.54 g . Obviously it is very difficult, if not impossible, to brake at the flip over limit with

a zero load on the rear wheel. In this condition nearing the limit, the best riders are able to attain

decelerations equal to 1.1 to 1.2 g s.

The equilibrium equation of the horizontal forces: m = Ff Fr and of the vertical forces. mg Nr

Nf = 0 : allows us to express the braking deceleration as a function of the front and rear braking force

coefficients used during the event:

It can be observed that deceleration depends on the geometric characteristics (wheelbase p , height of

the center of gravity h, longitudinal distance of the center of gravity b) and the braking force

coefficients used, and does not depend on the motorcycles mass.

The braking force of the front and rear wheels, with respect to the total braking force, also depends

only on the geometric magnitudes, and the braking force coefficients of the two wheels:

In the limiting conditions of friction, with equal braking traction coefficients for the two wheels

, the value of the maximum possible deceleration becomes:

max = g

The relation between the braking forces, to attain the limit condition at both wheels (equal braking

traction coefficients), simultaneously must be equal to:

This relation indicates how to distribute the braking forces in order to have optimal braking, given

the value of the braking force coefficient .

The distribution curves for braking and deceleration are shown in Fig. 3-25 (considering the

acceleration of gravity to be g = 9.81 m/s2) in terms of the braking force coefficients used on each

wheel. In Fig. 3-25 we can see that deceleration increases as the braking force coefficients increase,

especially with regard to the front wheel. This behavior is understandable since, as has already been

explained, during braking there is a load transfer from the rear to the front wheel. The solid lines

represent the distribution of braking between the front and rear wheels.

The horizontal axis corresponds to braking with the rear wheel alone (0/100) while the vertical

axis represents the case of braking with the front wheel alone (100/0). The figures show the utility of

using the rear brake, especially when the braking traction coefficient is low. Its usefulness diminishes

until it becomes almost negligible in the presence of very high braking traction coefficients.

[ p = 1.4 m; h = 0.7m; b = 0.7m]

Considering this data, it can be seen that the limiting condition of a flip over occurs when

deceleration is close to 1.0 g . In this case, the curve (1.0 g ) is, therefore the maximum attainable

deceleration.

Suppose we wanted to brake the motorcycle with a deceleration equal to 0.5 g . The possible

combinations of use of the front and rear brakes that could provide the desired deceleration are

infinite. For example, braking only with the front brake, the deceleration of 0.5 g is obtained by using

a braking force coefficient in front equal to 0.68 (point A ). On the other hand, with a distribution of

the braking forces of 80% front and 20% rear, a braking force coefficient of 0.55 in front and 0.4 in

back must be used (point B). Another possibility is given by point C which shows a distribution of the

braking force of 60% front and 40% rear, in which there is a greater use of the rear tire and a

corresponding lesser use of the front one.

Lets now suppose that the braking traction coefficients of the front and rear tires are the same.

Figure 3-26 shows that by using the same braking coefficient for the two tires, we obtain the

maximum possible deceleration. For example, if the braking force coefficient is equal to 0.8 for both

the front and rear wheels, the maximum deceleration (equal to 0.8g) is obtained with a 90/10 braking

distribution. The maximum use of the two tires is attained with this distribution. The figure further

shows that using only the front brake gives a deceleration that is lower at 0.67 g and that using only

the rear brake yields only 0.29 g. If the road is more slippery and the braking traction coefficient of

both the wheels is 0.4, the optimal braking occurs with a different distribution (70/30) and gives a

deceleration of 0.4 g.

This example shows that optimal braking requires a different distribution of braking between the

two wheels when varying the desired deceleration. In fact, the 45 line corresponding to f = r, which

represents the condition for optimal braking, intersects different curves of braking distribution when

varying the desired deceleration. This means that the devices for automatic distribution of braking

that are present on some motorcycles, should adapt the distribution to the conditions of the road.

Furthermore, it is worth pointing out that in the example considered it is not a good idea to use a

rear braking force greater than the front one. Figure 3-27 shows that the optimal distribution of

braking (dotted line) is tangent at the point of origin to the curve of 50% to 50% distribution; but it

does not intersect the curves of distribution characterized by greater force to the rear.

This is also valid for motorcycles with a different distribution of the static load on the two wheels,

for example 45% on the front and 55% on the rear wheel. The optimal line of braking is always

tangent at the origin to the braking distribution line having the same distribution between the static

loads on the two wheels. For example, with a load distributed 45% to the front and 55% to the rear, the

optimal braking line is tangent to the distribution curve of the braking force 45% to the front and 55%

to the rear.

[p = 1.4 m; h = 0.7m; b = 0.7m]

4 Steady Turning

During steady turning motion the motorcycle can have neutral, under or over-steering behavior. To

maintain equilibrium the rider applies a torque to the handlebars that can be zero, positive, in the

same direction of the handlebar rotation, or negative, i.e., applied in the direction opposite to the

rotation of the handlebar. These characteristics are important and concur to define the sensation of the

motorcycles handling.

4.1.1 Ide al rol l angl e

The motorcycle, in steady turning, is subject to both a restoring moment, generated by the

centrifugal force that tends to return the motorcycle to a vertical position, and to a tilting moment,

generated by the weight force, that tends to increase the motorcycles inclination, or roll angle (Fig.

4-1).

We introduce the following simplifying hypotheses:

the motorcycle runs along a turn of constant radius at constant velocity (steady state conditions);

the gyroscopic effect is negligible.

Considering the cross section thickness of the tires to be zero, the equilibrium of the moments allows

us to derive the roll angle in terms of the forward velocity V and the radius of the turn Rc (the radius

of the turn in this case is measured from the center of gravity to the turning axis):

where indicates the angular yaw rate, while V = Rc indicates the vehicles forward velocity.

Fig. 4-1 Steady turning: roll angle of the motorcycle equipped with zero thickness tires.

In conditions of equilibrium the resultant of the centrifugal force and the weight force passes

through the line joining the contact points of the tires on the road plane. This line lies in the

motorcycle plane if the wheels have zero thickness and the steering angle is very small.

In reality, if a non-zero steering angle is assigned, the front contact point is displaced laterally with

respect to the x-axis of the rear frame and the line joining the contact points of the tires is not

contained in the plane of the rear frame.

Now consider a motorcycle with tires of thickness 2t which describes the same turn radius Rc at the

same yaw velocity . Since the thickness of the tires is not zero, the roll angle that is necessary for

the equilibrium of the moments exerted by the weight force and the centrifugal force, is greater than

the ideal one i (Fig. 4-2):

= i +

The increase of the roll angle is given by the equation:

The preceding equation shows that increases both as the roll angle and the cross section radius

increase and as the height of the center of gravity h decreases. Therefore, the use of wide tires forces

the rider to use greater roll angles with respect to the angle necessary with a motorcycle equipped

with tires that have smaller cross sections. Furthermore, with equal cross sections of the tires, to

describe the same turn with the same forward velocity, a motorcycle with a low center of gravity

needs to be tilted more than a motorcycle with a higher center of gravity.

Fig. 4-2 Steady turning: roll angle of the motorcycle equipped with real tires.

The motorcycle roll angle on a turn is influenced, in a significant way, by the rider s driving style.

By leaning with respect to the vehicle, the rider changes the position of the his center of gravity with

respect to the motorcycle. Figure 4-3 illustrates the possible situations.

If the rider remains immobile with respect to the chassis (Fig. 4-3a), the center of gravity of the

motorcycle-rider system remains in the motorcycle plane. Undoubtedly, this is an elegant way of

handling the turns, but not the best. In fact, in this case (and only in this case), the actual roll angle

corresponds exactly to the theoretical roll angle that was previously calculated.

If the rider leans towards the exterior of the turn (Fig. 4-3b), the center of gravity is also moved to

the exterior of the turn with respect to the motorcycle. As a result, he needs to incline the motorcycle

further so that the tires, being more inclined than necessary, operate under less favorable conditions.

Certainly this rider is not an expert.

If the rider leans his torso towards the interior of the turn and at the same time rotates his leg so as

to nearly touch the ground with his knee, he manages to reduce the roll angle of the motorcycle plane

(Fig. 4-3c).

When racing, the riders move their entire bodies to the interior of the turn, both to reduce the roll

angle of the motorcycle and to better control the vehicle on the turn. The displacement of the

motorcycle-rider systems center of gravity towards the interior is carried out both by moving the leg

and by the movement of the body in the saddle (Fig. 4-3d). The displacement of the body towards the

interior and in particular, the rotation of the leg cause an aerodynamic yawing moment that facilitates

entering and rounding the turn.

The velocity of the vehicle is represented by the forward velocity of the contact point of the rear

wheel. Therefore, the yaw velocity is:

If we suppose no longitudinal slippage between the tires and the road surface (in the forward

direction of the wheels), the spin velocity of the wheels, in terms of the vehicle forward velocity, roll

angle and kinematic steering angle, is then:

In reality, it must be observed that during the thrust and braking phases there is always a

longitudinal slippage between the rear wheel and the road plane. In the front wheel there is

longitudinal slippage in the braking phase, while under steady state conditions the slippage is

negligible because it is only due to rolling resistance.

It is important to note that, with the same forward velocity, the angular velocity of the wheels

increases during turning with respect to the angular velocity of the wheels in straight running,

because contact does not occur on the largest circumference of the wheels.

Let us now consider a motorcycle in a steady turning condition. If each wheel advances ideally with

a pure rolling motion, the velocity vector of the wheels center would be contained in the plane of the

wheel.

The lateral slip is expressed by the sideslip angle , defined as the angle formed by the direction of

forward motion and the plane of the wheel. When sideslip angles approach zero, steering is called

kinematic steering.

The lateral reaction forces depend on the sideslip angles of the tires, roll angle and vertical loads.

The forces can be expressed by the following linear expressions, when slip and roll angles are small:

The constant k (expressed in radians-1) represent the stiffness coefficients of the tires:

k = cornering stiffness coefficient.

The larger the sideslip and camber stiffnesses are, the smaller the sideslip angle necessary to

generate the lateral force on the tire is.

The effective steering angle of a motorcycle (Fig. 4-4) also depends on sideslip angles; its value is

given by the equation:

where indicates the kinematic steering angle that depends on the steering angle , caster angle and

roll angle .

The turning radius of the trajectory described by the rear wheel is also a function of the sideslip

angles and of the kinematic steering angle:

If the sideslip angles and the kinematic steering angle are small, the radius can be calculated with

the following approximate formula:

The motorcycle steering behavior depends on various geometric parameters (wheelbase, offset,

caster angle, wheel radii and cross section radii), on the mass distribution and tire properties. Tire

properties, in particular, are very important because the effective steering angle depends on the

difference between the side slip angles.

The effective steering angle * is only equal to the kinematic steering angle chosen by the rider

if the slip angles of both wheels are equal. In this case the steering system has neutral behavior.

Otherwise, the effective steering angle is smaller or larger than what is expected by the rider and the

vehicle has under or over-steering behavior. It is worth pointing out that wheels steering angle may

be smaller than the sideslip angles when the steady turning radius is large and the speed high.

The steering behavior can be expressed by means of the steering ratio :

where

neutral if = 1: the sideslip angles are equal ( f = r);

over-steering if > 1: the difference of the sideslip angles is positive ( r > f);

under-steering if < 1: the difference is negative (r < f).

Neutral behavior

Figure 4-5 shows a vehicle in a turn, in the special case where the sideslip angles of the two wheels

are equal (f = r). If the sideslip angles were zero, the turn center (point Co) would be determined by

the intersection of the lines perpendicular to the planes of the wheels and passing through the contact

points. Since the sideslip angles of the two tires are equal, the effective steering angle remains

constant as the values of the sideslip angles vary, while the center of rotation C moves towards the

front and along a path passing through the point Co. The radius of curvature remains approximately

constant and equal to that relating to kinematic steering. This behavior is defined as neutral, since the

curvature radius depends only on the steering angle selected by the rider and not on the value of the

sideslip angles.

Under-steering

If the sideslip angle of the rear tire is less than the front tire (r < f) the center of curvature C is

displaced to the exterior of the path of the neutral center (Fig. 4-6a). Here the radius of curvature is

greater than the ideal one associated with the kinematic steering. The vehicles behavior is

therefore defined as under-steering.

Over-steering

If the sideslip angle of the rear tire is greater than that of the front tire (r > f ), the center of

curvature C is inside the path of the neutral center, so that the curvature radius is less than the ideal

radius associated with the kinematic steering (Fig. 4-6 b). The vehicle in this case has an oversteering behavior.

Now consider a motorcycle that is under-steering while it is rounding a turn. Since the vehicle

tends to expand the turn, in order to correct the trajectory the rider is obliged to increase the steering

angle so that the lateral reaction force of the front wheel will be increased.

When the rotation of the handlebars becomes considerable, the force needed for equilibrium can

overcome the maximum friction force between the front tire and the road plane, with the result that

the wheel slips and the rider falls.

motorcycle that is under-steering is therefore dangerous, since the rider cannot control the

vehicle once the front wheel has lost adherence.

On the other hand, with an over-steering motorcycle, if the force needed for equilibrium

overcomes the maximum friction force between the tire and the road plane, the rear wheel slips, but

the expert rider, with a counter steering maneuver, has a better chance of controlling the vehicle

equilibrium and avoiding a fall.

Figure 4-7 shows the motorcycle in kinematic turning without driving force, rotating about the

ideal turn center Co . Rolling resistance and aerodynamic forces are neglected. The tire lateral forces

are perpendicular to the wheels and their resultant is equal to the desired centripetal force directed

towards the turn center point.

Figure 4-8 shows a motorcycle with sideslip angles not equal to zero and with the driving force

required to give steady tangential velocity. Front rolling resistance is considered whereas

aerodynamic forces are neglected. The turn center C is the intersection of the lines perpendicular to

the directions of the forward velocity of the two wheels. For equilibrium the intersection of the total

front and rear forces must intersect the line GC . The resultant of the two tire forces gives the

centripetal component directed towards the turn center C.

If the aerodynamic force is included the driving force necessary for the equilibrium will increase.

The aerodynamic force also influences the vertical loads on the wheels:

The front vertical load is equal to the static load less the load transfer due to the aerodynamic force.

Alternatively, the rear load is equal to the sum of the static load and load transfer.

Fig. 4-7 Plan view: Forces acting on the motorcycle with zero sideslip angles.

Fig. 4-8 Plan view: Forces acting on the motorcycle with non-zero sideslip angles.

The vertical load on the front wheel increases slightly in the passage from rectilinear motion to the

turn, while it decreases on the rear wheel, due to the dependence of the load transfer on the roll angle.

It is worth highlighting that, even if rolling resistance is neglected, a driving force is necessary for

equilibrium in steady turning when sideslip angles are present.

Now consider a motorcycle rounding a turn with large radius, with respect to the motorcycles

wheelbase, and suppose that the aerodynamic force is negligible so that the load transfer is negligible

with respect to the vertical loads on the wheels.

If we consider small roll, steering and sideslip angles the lateral forces acting on the wheels are equal

to (see Fig.4-7):

The lateral forces depend on the distribution of the static loads on the two wheels, while the front

lateral force also depends on the effective steering angle. The ratios between the lateral forces acting

on the wheels, and the vertical loads are equal to:

Keeping in mind the expressions for the lateral forces in terms of the sideslip and roll angles, the

sideslip angles can be written in the following way:

It can be noted that the sideslip angles depend on two terms of opposite sign. The negative term is

proportional to the camber stiffness and its increase brings about a reduction in the sideslip angle that

can also become negative, as we have seen in the chapter on tires. The first, remaining term depends

on the lateral force (numerator) and the vertical load (denominator).

The sideslip angles can therefore be expressed in the form:

It can be noted that the sideslip angles are inversely proportional to the cornering stiffness and that

they depend on both the camber stiffness and the roll angle (and therefore on the forward velocity and

the radius of curvature). Observe that if the camber stiffness coefficient is greater than one the

sideslip angle is negative.

Now let us consider the steering ratio that characterizes the directional behavior of the vehicle:

In this case, the vehicles response at any velocity coincides with that present under ideal conditions of

kinematic steering.

The directional behavior is over-steering if the ratio is greater than one:

The directional behavior is under-steering if the ratio is less than one:

In this case, as the velocity gradually increases, the radius of curvature also increases and thereby,

increasingly greater steering angles are required to go through the same trajectory.

Figure 4-9 shows the steering ratio under variation in the camber stiffnesses, in the case in which

the cornering stiffnesses are equal. The graph shows that for neutral behavior the two tires must have

equal camber stiffness coefficient values.

Example 1

Consider a motorcycle with a wheelbase p = 1.4 m, equipped with different tires. The tires have the

following three combinations of the cornering stiffness coefficient while the camber stiffness

coefficient is assumed to be constant

Motorcycle 1:

Motorcycle 2:

Motorcycle 3:

Figure 4-10 shows the steering ratio versus the forward velocity. It can be observed that the behavior

of the vehicle is:

over-steering when the front cornering stiffness coefficient is greater than that of the rear tire (

) ;

neutral when the stiffnesses are equal (

) ;

under-steering when the rear cornering stiffness coefficient is greater than that of the front tire (

).

This is due to the fact that the sideslip angle of a tire is greater to the extent that its stiffness is less;

with high values of the cornering stiffness, the sideslip angles could be zero (kinematic steering).

It is interesting to observe how, on the basis of this linear model (expressed in terms of stiffness

coefficients), neither the steering angle nor the longitudinal position of the center of gravity influence

the vehicles directional behavior.

Actually, as the sideslip angle increases, the lateral forces increase at an increasingly lower rate

than that predicted by the linear law forming the basis of the tire model.

Furthermore, in reality the directional behavior of the motorcycle is also influenced by the

longitudinal position of the center of gravity and by the value of the driving force.

].

The previous example has shown that the under/over-steer behavior in a turn depends mainly on

the camber and cornering stiffnesses. Their influence is important especially if the stiffness values of

the front and rear tires are different.

Consider again a motorcycle that rounds a turn with a large radius with respect to its wheelbase.

When the behavior of the motorcycle is over-steering, the steering ratio approaches at a certain

value of the velocity, called critical velocity:

The control of the motorcycle over the critical velocity is possible by performing counter-steering

maneuvers. This strategy is adopted by riders in speedway and motard racing.

Example 2

Consider a motorcycle with a wheelbase p = 1.4 m, characterized by the following tire properties:

The motorcycle is over-steering because the steering ratio is greater than one. The critical velocity

is equal to 50.6 m/s.

Figure 4-11 gives the progress of the ratio as a function of the velocity. It can be observed here

that the value of increases rapidly. This means that at high velocities even small values of the

steering angle suffice to turn the vehicle.

Figure 4-12 illustrates the variation of critical velocity in terms of the cornering stiffness coefficient

of the tires. It can be noted in the left plot that if

, in the field of values (

) critical velocity

does not exist; the equation shows that critical velocity is imaginary.

The right plot refers to a motorcycle with camber stiffness coefficient in the front tire greater than

that of the rear tire. In this case the vehicle is always in over-steering. Critical velocity increases by

increasing the rear tire cornering stiffness and decreasing the front tire cornering stiffness.

A motorcycle can be described as a system of six rigid bodies: sprung steering components,

unsprung steering components, rear frame (including frame, engine, tank and driver), rear swinging

arm and the two wheels.

The driver is considered to be a rigid body firmly attached to the frame. The following Fig. 4.13

shows a sketch of a motorcycle in steady turning motion.

The speed of travel V is the speed of the contact point of the rear wheel. When no slip is present, V

is directly proportional to the angular velocity of the rear wheel and is directed along the wheel

symmetry plane.

The distributed aerodynamic forces which air exerts on the motorcycle are taken into account by

considering drag, lift and lateral forces acting at the center of mass of the rear frame (FD,FL,FS) and

three aerodynamic torques (

).

The interaction between each tire and the road is represented by three forces (vertical load,

longitudinal and lateral forces) acting at the geometric contact point and by three torques

(overturning, rolling resistance and yaw torque), acting along the three independent axes. The tire

forces and torques are non-linearly dependent on the roll angle and slip quantities.

The equations of motion of the motorcycle in steady turning motion are described in the paper

[Cossalter et al., 1999].

The equilibrium conditions give six equations:

three force equilibrium equations;

three moment equilibrium equations: equilibrium around the X -axis (roll), the

Y -axis (pitch) and the Z -axis (yaw).

In addition we have two equations that give the lateral forces as functions of sideslip and camber

angles.

Once the roll angle and the steering angle are assigned, the eight equations allow us to obtain

the eight unknowns:

forward velocity V ;

vertical forces Nf and Nr applied respectively to the front and rear wheels;

lateral forces and applied respectively to the front and rear wheels;

sideslip angles f , r ,

the driving force S .

Finally, the equilibrium of the front and/or the rear frame around the steering axis gives the torque

exerted by the rider and applied to the handlebars, which provides and equal and opposite reaction on

the rear frame.

The inertial and geometrical properties are defined with respect to the coordinate systems

represented in Fig. 4-14.

Let us examine the rear frame:

it has mass Mr ;

it is characterized by the center of gravity Gr having coordinates (br,0,hr) with respect to the

rear coordinate system (Ar, Xr, Yr, Zr) ;

it is considered symmetrical with respect to the xz plane, hence its inertial characteristics are

represented by the following four terms:

= mass center moment of inertia about xr axis (roll moment of inertia);

= mass center moment of inertia about yr axis (pitch moment of inertia);

= mass center inertia product about xr - zr -axes.

Let us examine the front frame:

it has mass Mf ;

it is characterized by the center of gravity Gf having coordinates (bf, 0,hf) with respect to the

front coordinate system (Af, Xf, Yf, Zf) ;

The coordinate system axes (Af, Xf, Yf, Zf) are assumed to be principal axes of inertia so that the inertia

tensor is diagonal.

Ignoring the small displacements of the wheels contact points (with respect to the radius of

curvature) which, as we have seen in the chapter on kinematics, depend on the angles of pitch, roll and

steering as well as the geometry of the wheels, the six equations of equilibrium for the motorcycle in

a turn can be easily derived (Fig- 4-15):

() equilibrium of the forces along the X axis:

Nf Nr + mg = 0

equilibrium of the moments:

() around the X axis:

IXZ2 Nf (p + Xr) + mg XG + FA ZG NrXr = 0

( ) around the Z axis:

S

the thrust which is necessary for holding the motorcycle stationary in a turn;

FA

Nf, Nr

f, r

yaw velocity;

coordinates of the motorcycle center of gravity with respect to the reference system

(C, X, Y, Z) :

XG , YG,

ZG

ZG = h cos

coordinates of the contact point of the rear wheel with respect to the reference system

(C, X, Y, Z) ;

Xr,Yr

Xr = Rcr sin r

Yr = Rcr cos r

IXZ, IYZ products of inertia of the motorcycle with respect to the axes X Z and Y Z . These

products of inertia depend on the mass center moments of the motorcycle,

, mass m , roll

angle , and on the coordinates XG,YG,ZG of the motorcycle mass center:

The six equations constitute a non-linear system. Expressing the roll angle as a function of the

yaw velocity and of the radius , and expressing the lateral forces of the tires as linear functions of

the sideslip angles f, r and roll angle , we can calculate the six unknowns.

For example setting the steering angle and the yaw velocity the six unknowns are:

the sideslip angles f , r ;

the radius :

the vertical loads Nf , Nr ;

the thrust S necessary for assuring motion at a constant velocity.

If the sideslip angles f , r , the roll angle and the effective steering angle are known, it is

possible to calculate the radius of the circular trajectory covered by the rear wheel .

We will show how a motorcycle in a turn, with assigned forward velocity, roll and steering angles,

describes a trajectory whose path radius depends on the sideslip angles of the tires. If the sideslip

angles are zero, the trajectory coincides with the kinematic one.

The conditions of stationary equilibrium of a motorcycle in a turn, in the curvature-forward

velocity diagram, are represented by means of the contour lines of the steering angle and the roll

angle . These curves provide the necessary values for equilibrium on a turn, once the radius of the

trajectory and the velocity of the motorcycle have been set (Fig 4-16).

The roll angle contour lines show how the velocity and the turning radius have to vary to assure

vehicle equilibrium, maintaining the roll angle constant. The steering angle needed under various

stationary equilibrium conditions is represented by the intersection of the roll curve with the steering

curve.

In the same way we can consider a motorcycle that rounds a turn holding the steering angle

constant. The steering contour lines show how the forward speed and the radius of the turn need to

vary in order to assure the vehicles equilibrium. The roll angle necessary under various equilibrium

conditions is represented by the intersection of the steering contour line with the roll line.

Three motorcycles having the same geometry and inertial properties but equipped with different

tires are considered. The different behavior of the three motorcycles depends on the various sideslip

angles of the tires required to generate the lateral forces that are necessary for equilibrium. It should

be noted that the radius of the turn depends on the difference in the sideslip angles as well as on the

steering angle.

Roll and steering angles

Figure 4-16 represents the case of a motorcycle with tires having equal camber and cornering

stiffness.

The horizontal straight lines represent the equilibrium conditions of a motorcycle rounding turns

of increasing radius, at constant velocity. The graph shows how the roll and steering angles vary in

terms of the curvature.

The vertical lines represent motorcycles rounding turns of constant radius with variable velocity.

The graph shows how the roll and steering angles need to vary in terms of velocity. To round a turn

with constant radius, the steering angle must diminish as velocity increases. This phenomenon derives

from the fact that the effective steering angle also depends on the roll angle (see chapter 1).

It must be recalled that the range of steering angles used is normally much more restricted than that

indicated in the figure, especially at high velocities.

We can see in the figure that even if =0 a steady state turning motion, at low velocity, is possible.

If we consider a perfectly vertical motorcycle (roll angle = 0) with the handlebars turned to the

right, we are led to suppose that it cannot attain an equilibrium velocity since we imagine that the

centrifugal force generated as the turn is rounded to the right, tends to make the motorcycle fall

outside the turn, i.e., to the left.

Fig. 4-16 Roll and steering angles as functions of velocity and curvature.

Fig. 4-17 Sideslip angles in terms of velocity and curvature. Reference motorcycle.

Actually, it must be recalled that the presence of the motorcycle trail causes a displacement to the

left of the front wheels contact point and that, furthermore, the roll angle of the front section is not

zero, but increases with the steering angle even if the roll of the rear section is zero. It follows

intuitively that both the center of gravity of the front section and that of the rear section are displaced

to the right of the straight line joining the contact points. Non-zero equilibrium velocities are

therefore possible, since the overturning moment due to the centrifugal force is balanced out by the

moments generated by the weight forces.

Sideslip angles.

The sideslip angles required for a motorcycle with tires of equal stiffness are represented in Fig. 417. Note that the vehicle has nearly neutral behavior, with nearly equal front and rear sideslip angles

(r f = 0.25 for a velocity of 15 m/s and turn radius of 30 m).

Roll and steering angles

If the values of both the camber and cornering stiffnesses of the two tires are changed, the vehicle

behaves differently in the turn. If the front tire has larger (+10%) stiffness values and the rear tire

smaller (-10%) than the preceding case, the behavior will be different, as can be observed in Fig. 418.

Fig. 4-18 Roll and steering angles as functions of velocity and curvature.

At the same velocity and curvature radius, the steering angle necessary for equilibrium on a turn is

notably smaller (for example, at a velocity of about 15 m/s and with a curvature ratio of 30 m, the

steering angle diminishes from approximately 2 to approximately 1).

Furthermore, as in the previous case, to round a turn with constant radius, the steering angle must

diminish as the velocity increases.

Sideslip angles.

With a front tire having higher camber and cornering stiffnesses, i.e., with a front tire performing

more than the rear one, the sideslip angles change significantly. The front sideslip angle is very small

or even negative, while the rear sideslip angle increases (Fig. 4-19). The difference between the

sideslip angles has positive sign and becomes: r f = 1.9.

Fig. 4-19 Sideslip angles as functions of velocity and curvature. Over-steering motorcycle.

Fig. 4-20 shows the plan view of a motorcycle with a negative value of the front sideslip angle. In this

case the front lateral force is the sum of a positive component due to the camber angle and a negative

component due to the sideslip angle. Such a condition would exist below the f = 0 curve for the front

tire in Fig. 4-19.

Roll and steering angles

Consider a third vehicle with larger stiffness values of the rear tire (+10%) and smaller stiffness

values of the front tire (-10%). In this case (Fig. 4-21) the vehicle behaves very differently from the

previous two cases: to round a turn of equal radius, greater steering angles are necessary. For

example to round a turn of radius 30 m at a velocity of 15 m/s, requires a steering angle about 3

greater than that of the previous cases.

The greater difference between this case and the previous two is highlighted by the plot of the

steering angle contour lines. Consider for example the vehicle while it rounds a turn of 50 m with

increasing velocity. With an increase in velocity of up to approximately 15 m/s, the steering angle

necessary for equilibrium must increase slightly, while, for greater velocities the steering angle has

to diminish.

Sideslip angles.

In this case the rear tire has better characteristics than the front one, the front sideslip angle

increases while the rear diminishes significantly (Fig. 4-22). The difference between the sideslip

angles has a negative sign and becomes: r f = - 1. 8.

Fig. 4-21 Case 3: roll and steering angle in terms of velocity and curvature.

Fig. 4-22 Sideslip angles in terms of velocity and curvature. Under-steering motorcycle.

Case 1.

Let us examine a motorcycle in steady turning equipped with front and rear tires which have the

same cornering stiffness coefficient (

) and camber stiffness coefficient (

).

Fig. 4-23 Steering ratio: front and rear tires with cornering stiffness k = 15 rad-1 and camber

stiffness k = 0.8 rad-1 .

This case is not realistic because the front and rear tires usually have different properties, but it

helps us understand the effect of tire properties on steering behavior. The contour plot of ,

represented in Fig. 4-23, shows that the vehicles behavior is almost neutral when the speed is very

low and becomes over-steering when the speed increases.

The sideslip angle of the front wheel is smaller that of the rear wheel for at least two reasons. First

of all, the driving force that acts on the rear tire necessitates a larger sideslip angle to generate the

lateral force. This effect becomes more important when the speed increases because the aerodynamic

force (and the driving force) increases. Secondly, front wheel camber angle is larger than rear

wheel camber angle , hence, the effect of camber angle on the lateral force is more significant on

the front wheel.

Case 2.

In this case the motorcycle is equipped with the same front tire (

and

) but

with the rear tire having different properties: the rear camber stiffness coefficient is increased (

) while the cornering stiffness coefficient is the same as the front tire.

Fig. 4-24 Steering ratio: rear tire with increased camber stiffness coefficient (

).

Figure 4-24 shows that, when the speed is higher than 15 m/s, under-steering occurs for a wide

range of values of the steady turning radius. Under-steering behavior does not take place when the

speed is low for at least two reasons. First, if the steady turning radius is large, the roll angle is small

(less than 5) and the increased camber stiffness of the rear tire is unable to significantly influence the

sideslip angle. Then, if the steady turning radius is small, both roll angle and steering angle are

rather large, but the camber angle of the front wheel is larger than and this effect compensates for

the increased camber stiffness of the rear tire.

Case 3.

Finally, Fig. 4-25 deals with a rear tire which has increased both cornering stiffness coefficient and

camber stiffness coefficient (

and

place even when the speed is lower than 15 m/s.

Fig. 4-25 Steering ratio: rear tire with increased cornering stiffness coefficient (

camber stiffness coefficient

).

and

The equilibrium of moments around the steering axis enables the evaluation of the torque that the

rider must apply to the handlebars to assure the motorcycles equilibrium in a turn (Fig. 4-26). It must

be specified that this refers to steady turning, i.e., to a motorcycle at a constant velocity and turn

radius. In transitory movement, in a turn with variable velocity and curvature radius, the torque the

rider must exercise will be substantially different from that calculated in a steady state, especially if

the variations in velocity and trajectory occur suddenly.

The torque applied by the rider is equal, but of opposite sign, to the resultant of all the moments

generated by the forces acting on the front section. The resultant torque is composed of six terms:

disaligning influence (sign +) due to the weight force of the front section,

aligning influence (sign -) due to the centrifugal force of the front section,

disaligning influence (sign +) due to the normal load on the front wheel,

aligning influence (sign -) due to the lateral force on the front wheel,

aligning influence (sign -) due to the gyroscopic effect of the front wheel (Fig. 4-27),

disaligning influence (sign +) due to the twisting torque of the front tire,

Point A indicates the intersection of the steering axis with the normal line passing through the front

tire contact point. The distance between point A and contact point Pf represents the effective trail of the

tire.

In Fig. 4-28 the variations of the torque applied by the rider to the handlebars of the sample

motorcycle is shown. It is useful to recall that the torque exercised by the rider is, by definition

positive if it tends to increase the steering angle into the turn.

Fig. 4-28 Torques applied to the handlebars versus the turn radius and the velocity.

This means that there are essentially two possible situations:

at low velocities the steering torque is negative. Therefore, in steering, the rider must block the

handlebars, which otherwise tend to rotate further. When the values of the steering torque

become strongly negative, the inclination and the entry into the turn become easier;

with an increase in velocity, the torque to be applied to the handlebars becomes positive. This

circumstance, if the value of the torque remains high, generates in the rider the unpleasant

sensation of driving a motorcycle that is hard to incline and to insert into tight turns.

Figure 4-29 shows the various components combining to define the resulting couple that acts on the

steering axis, in terms of the roll angle. The various contributions have the following effect:

vertical load: the vertical reactive force generates a positive moment of high value;

lateral force: the lateral reactive force generates a high value negative moment of the same order

of magnitude generated by the vertical load;

front weight force: the moment is positive;

centrifugal force: the moment is negative, of the same order of magnitude as that generated by

the weight force;

gyroscopic moment: it generates an aligning effect;

twisting moment: it generates a disaligning effect that increases with the roll angle.

Fig. 4-30 Torque applied by the rider and moments exercised around the steering axis.

It should be observed that both the two forces applied to the center of gravity of the front section

(weight force and centrifugal force) and the two reaction forces applied at the contact point (lateral

force and vertical load) each contain influences of opposite sign.

Figure 4-30 shows the variation in the torque applied by the rider as the roll angle varies. The

torque is equal to the sum, with signs changed, of the following influences:

mass forces (vector sum of the moments of weight force and centrifugal force);

reaction forces (vector sum of the moments of vertical load and lateral force);

gyroscopic moment;

Figure 4-30 also shows an example in which for small roll angles the rider needs to exercise a

negative couple, while for large roll angles, he must apply a positive couple.

The maximum maneuverability is obtained when the couple necessary for assuring equilibrium is

zero or nearly so. In fact under these conditions, if the rider lets go of the handlebars the motorcycle

continues to round the set turn.

The steady turning behavior of a motorcycle is a function of vehicle geometry, inertia and tire

properties.

Normal trail

Fig. 4-31 shows the reference case, while Fig. 4-32 shows the effect of a positive increment in the

normal trail: the steering torque contour plot shifts towards lower values in the whole area under

consideration, whereas there is no significant change in the shape of the curves.

This result can be explained by considering the fact that when the trail increases, the disaligning

effect due to the front tire vertical load increases more than the aligning effect due to the lateral force.

The result is a more stable steering behavior, in the area of interest.

On the contrary, the increase in the caster angle (Fig. 4-33) has an aligning effect, since the steering

torque increases (as it has negative values, its magnitude decreases). It is worth noting that the effect

of the steering head angle is relevant. Considering that the real steering head angle is influenced by

the motorcycles attitude, depending on speed, mass distribution and suspension behavior, particular

attention should be paid to this parameter.

The positive increment in front tire section radius has a strong aligning influence (Fig. 4-34): this

effect is caused by the displacement of the front wheel contact point due to the roll angle. It can be

seen that the zero steering torque curve shifts towards lower values of the forward speed, and the

resulting behavior is quite different from the reference case.

Rider position

A forward displacement of the rider s center of mass has a slight self-steering effect. The vertical

position of the rider s center of mass has a very small aligning effect. The result is that if the rider

moves, always remaining in the plane of symmetry of the motorcycle, the steering behavior doesnt

change significantly. On the contrary, a lateral displacement of the rider toward the inside of the curve

has a strong aligning effect. Considering that sport riders usually move sideways considerably it is

obvious that the steering characteristics of the motorcycle are strongly influenced by driving style.

An expert rider can take advantage of this phenomenon and shift the zone of low steering torque to

match the current steering conditions and thus gain better, easier steering control.

The presence of a passenger alters mass distribution of the motorcycle. The resulting effect is

slightly aligning, but the steady turning steering torque is not substantially changed.

The influence of the rider s lateral position on the steering behavior of the motorcycle is

represented in Fig. 4-35. A 0.05 m lateral displacement of the rider s center of mass in towards the

curve was considered, this corresponds to a decrease in the roll angle of about 1. The figure shows

the acceleration index (ratio between the torque and the lateral acceleration) both in the presence of

lateral displacement and under normal conditions (without lateral displacement).

In the presence of lateral displacement the acceleration index is positive for every value of forward

speed if the steady turning radius is larger than 25 m. For each value of the steady turning radius the

curve, which is calculated by taking into account the lateral displacement of the rider, lies above the

curve calculated in nominal conditions. The difference between the two curves becomes very large

when lateral acceleration (V2 / R) is low.

This behavior can be explained by taking into account the effect due to the decrease in roll angle

caused by the rider s lateral displacement. The first effect is the decrease of the disaligning effect of

the tire twisting torque. The second is the variation in the moment of tire forces about the steering

axis. In particular the disaligning effect of the tire load, which tends to rotate the wheel towards the

inside of the curve, decreases.

Tire properties

All drivers know that tires have an important effect on the behavior of the motorcycle. The same

motorcycle equipped with different tires sometimes behaves as a completely different motorcycle. An

increase in the cornering stiffness or in the camber stiffness of the front tire causes only small

variations in the acceleration index.

The more important tire parameter is the yaw torque of the front tire which, as we have seen in the

second chapter, includes two terms:

a term which tends to align the wheel with the forward speed and is due to the lateral force and

pneumatic trail (which depends on sideslip angle );

Figure 4-36 shows the yaw moment of the front tire in the reference case (on the left) and with a tire

having a decreased trail (-20%) and an increased twisting torque (+11%).

Figure 4-37 highlights that the decrease in the tire trail and the increase in the twisting torque make

the steering torque negative in the whole range of velocities and steady turning radii. Nevertheless the

two families of curves show the same general trends, like the increment of acceleration index when

forward speed increases and steady turning radius decreases.

We have seen that the torque to be applied to the handlebars can have zero value to assure

equilibrium, positive (a torque in accordance with the steering angle) or negative (a torque not in

accordance with the steering angle).

Any modifications to the motorcycle will bring variations in the torque to be applied to the

handlebars; the influence of the main geometric and inertial parameters on the steering torque is

brought to light in Fig. 4-38.

It can be observed that the steering head angle, the front tire cross section radius, the height of the

center of gravity and the normal trail are the parameters that most influence the value of torque.

Aligning effect: the steering angle tends to decrease. The rider must steer into the turn (+) to

counteract this effect. If the torque was negative it must becomes less negative.

Disaligning effect: the steering angle tends to increase. The rider must steer out of the turn (-) to

counteract. If the torque was negative it becomes more negative.

5 In-Plane Dy namics

A motorcycle without suspension moving over uneven ground presents difficulties in steering

because of the loss of wheel grip on the road, and because of rider discomfort. Small bumps on the

ground are easily absorbed by the tires, but for adequate absorption of larger bumps, the motorcycle

needs appropriate suspension.

A motorcycle with suspension, from a dynamics point of view, can be considered as a rigid body

connected to the wheels with elastic systems (front and rear suspension ). The rigid body constitutes

the sprung mass (chassis, engine, steering head, rider), while the masses attached to the wheels are

called unsprung masses.

Suspension has to satisfy the following three purposes:

allow the wheels to follow the profile of the road without transmitting excessive vibration to the

rider. This purpose concerns rider comfort, that is the isolation of the sprung mass from the

vibration generated by the interaction of the wheels with road irregularities;

ensure wheel grip on the road plane in order to transmit the required driving, braking and lateral

forces;

ensure the desired trim of the vehicle under various operating conditions (acceleration, braking,

entering and exiting turns).

The degree of required comfort varies according to the use of the vehicle. For example, with

racing vehicles, comfort is less important than the motorcycles capacity to keep the wheels in contact

with the ground and to assume the desired trim.

However, in other vehicles the suspension is expected to serve other purposes. For example, in off-

road vehicles the suspension serves to isolate the sprung mass from continuous impact generated by

vehicle jumps. For this reason, suspension in off-road vehicles has greater wheel travel than in

touring vehicles, and more so than in racing vehicles.

As for the trim, it should be highlighted that it depends on the stiffness of the suspension and on the

loads. The load can be quite variable in motorcycles (one or two passengers, possibly with baggage);

and furthermore, load transfer between the front and rear wheel occurs in both acceleration and

braking.

In the study of in-plane dynamics, the motorcycle is considered as an elastically suspended rigid

body. It has three degrees of freedom: one degree of freedom is associated with the vehicles forward

motion, while the other two are associated with two vibrating modes and are, therefore, characterized

by their respective natural frequencies.

The combination of distance between bumps on the road plane and forward velocity causes

excitations of the vehicle in a range of frequency that can be evaluated from 0.25 Hz to 20 Hz. Since

the tires have radial stiffness much greater than that of the suspension (6-12 times greater), their

influence at low frequencies (below approximately 3 Hz) becomes negligible.

Now let us see when resonance conditions can be generated as a result of irregularities in the road

surface. Suppose the motorcycle advances with constant velocity V on a road profile presenting

equidistant irregularities - for example, the bays of a viaduct (Fig. 5-1). The time required for the

motorcycle to cover the distance Lwave between the two irregularities (length of the bay) is equal to:

The resonance condition occurs when the excitation frequency is equal to the natural frequency of

one of the vibration modes of the vehicle in the plane.

Critical forward motorcycle velocity is defined as the forward velocity at which the motion

imposed by the road disturbance has the same frequency as one of the vibration modes of the vehicle

in the plane.

If Lwave is the wavelength of the disturbance and n is the frequency of one of the motorcycle

modes, (Tn is the natural period), the critical forward velocity is given by the following expression:

For example, with a natural frequency n equal to 2 Hz and a perturbation with wavelength Lwave

equal to 6 m, the resonance condition occurs at a velocity of 12 m/s (critical velocity).

If the motorcycle proceeds at a velocity below critical velocity, the frequency of the motion

imposed:

is lower than the natural frequency n . Alternatively, it is above the vehicles critical velocity for

velocities greater than the critical velocity.

It is also possible to follow a different approach. Assuming that the motorcycle forward velocity is

50 m/s. Given the natural frequency n , at this velocity the resonance condition occurs when the

perturbation has a (critical) wavelength equal to:

which, under the assumption made (n = 2 Hz, V = 50 m/s), corresponds to a critical wavelength of 25

m. Critical wavelengths therefore diminish in proportion to the forward velocity.

Suspension systems were introduced on motorcycles in the 1930s and 1940s and numerous

architectures and kinematic models have been proposed. We will briefly analyze the kinematic

schemes of the front and rear suspension that are now most common.

5.2.1 Front s us pe ns i on

The most widespread front suspension is, undoubtedly, the telescopic fork. It is made up of two

telescopic sliders which run along the inner tube of the fork and form a prismatic joint between the

unsprung mass of the front wheel and the sprung mass of the chassis.

The constructive solution with the two telescopic sliders attached to the steering head is referred to

as conventional, and is currently the most common construction for street motorcycles (Fig. 5-2).

The solution with the two fork tubes fixed to the steering head and the two slider tubes on the lower

end, called upside down, is the one most commonly used in sport motorcycles, especially since it

has more bending and torsional stiffness.

The telescopic fork is characterized by low inertia around the axis of the steering head. Its greatest

disadvantage is represented by the high friction forces encountered when forces are applied

orthogonal to the axis along which the sliders run - for example, in braking and on curves.

In braking, because of the load transfer, the telescopic fork compresses as the rear suspension is

unloaded; thus, the vehicle pitches forward. The pitching changes the trim of the vehicle and further

diminishes the steering head angle. A smaller angle of inclination of the fork causes a reduction of

the value of the trail.

Two limitations of the telescopic fork are the impossibility of achieving progressive

force/displacement and the rather high values of the unsprung mass that is an integral part of the

wheel.

To overcome the typical defects of the telescopic fork, different suspension systems have been

used. These can be classified from a kinematic point of view as:

push arm;

trailing arm;

four-bar linkage.

In an arm front suspension, the arm can be pushed (Earles-type fork) or pulled back (a scheme used

by the Piaggio Vespa), as illustrated in Fig. 5-3.

The four-bar linkage can also be used in a front suspension. In this case the axis of the steering

head can be attached to the chassis, or to the connecting link, as shown in Fig. 5-4.

The front arm suspension and four-bar linkage suspension can be designed so as to provide total

or partial anti-dive behavior in braking. In addition, not having prismatic joints the dry friction

problems typical of telescopic forks are eliminated from the start.

The torsional stiffness (with respect to the steering axis and an axis normal to it) of these

suspension systems depends on the design but in general it is easier to obtain greater values with the

telescopic fork. Furthermore, these elaborate designs can also reduce the unsprung mass. An

appropriate position of the spring or springs, especially in the case of the four-bar linkage

suspension, makes progressive suspension possible.

Fig. 5-3 Schemes of front suspension with pushed and pulled wishbones.

Fig. 5-5 Schemes of four-bar linkage front suspension with prismatic pairs.

A variant of the four-bar linkage front suspension is obtained by substituting a revolute joint with a

prismatic joint, as illustrated in the diagram on the left in Fig. 5-5. This kinematic design has the

disadvantage that the vertical movement of the wheel in relation to the chassis causes rotation in the

handlebars around the upper revolute joint fastened to the chassis. This disadvantage is greatly

reduced in the design on the right in Fig. 5-5, which is obtained by moving the revolute joint fastened

to the chassis in relation to the steering head axis. This design solution is used in the BMW

Telelever suspension.

5.2.2 Re ar s us pe ns i on

The classic rear suspension is composed of a large fork made up of two trailing-ing arms with two

spring-damper units, one on each side, inclined at a certain angle with respect to the swinging arm.

(Fig. 5-6).

The principal advantages of the traditional rear suspension are:

simplicity of construction;

ease of dissipation of the heat produced by the shock absorbers;

large amplitude of the motion of spring-damper units which is nearly equal to the vertical

amplitude of the wheel motion and which therefore causes high compression and extension

velocities of the shock absorbers;

the low reaction forces transmitted to the chassis.

The greatest disadvantages are:

limitation of the vertical oscillation amplitude of the wheel;

not very progressive force-displacement characteristic;

possibility that the two spring-damper units generate different forces due to differences in the

spring preloads or the characteristics of the shock absorbers, with consequent malfunctioning of

the suspension, due to the generation of moments that torsionally stress the swinging arm.

One variant of the dual-strut suspension is the cantilever mono-shock system, characterized by only

one spring-damper unit. It has the following advantages over the twin shock arm:

ease of adjustment since there is only one shock absorber;

high torsional and bending stiffnesses;

high vertical wheel amplitude.

This suspension does not enable a progressive force-displacement characteristic and the

positioning of the spring-shock absorber unit above or behind the engine can cause heat dissipation

problems for the shock absorber.

In the classic and cantilever system the introduction of a linkage in the rear suspension makes it

easier to obtain the desired stiffness curves. These designs are generally based on the four-bar

linkage. They are distinguished only by the different attachment points of the spring-damper unit,

which can be inserted between the chassis and the rocker (Unitrak design of Kawasaki) or between the

connecting link and the chassis (Pro-Link design of Honda) or between the swinging arm and the

rocker (Full Floater design of Suzuki) as shown in Fig. 5-7. Modest unsprung masses are obtained, as

well as large wheel amplitude, but great reaction forces are exchanged among the various parts of the

four-bar linkage.

Fig. 5-7 Schemes of rear suspension with swinging arm and four-bar linkage.

The four-bar linkage is also commonly used to accommodate a shaft-drive with universal joints.

The wheel is attached to the connecting rod of the four-bar linkage. Its center of rotation with respect

to the chassis is therefore the point of intersection of the axes of the two rockers. The position of the

rotation center depends on the angles of inclination of the two rockers. The suspension acts as if it

were composed of a very long fork fastened to the chassis in the center of rotation. This kinematic

design is used in the BW Paralever suspension and in the Guzzi motorcycles modified by Magni

(with parallel rockers).

suspension based on a six-bar linkage has also been tried (Morbidelli 500 GP). This can

potentially generate curves with more unique progression of suspension stiffness. This potential

advantage, however, does not justify the highly complex construction.

Fig. 5-8 Schemes of rear suspensions with four-bar and six-bar linkages.

The choice of front and rear suspension characteristics (stiffness, damping, preload) depends on

many parameters: the weight of the rider and the motorcycle, the position of the center of gravity or

the distribution of the loads on the wheels, the characteristics of stiffness and vertical damping of the

tires, the geometry of the motorcycle, the conditions of use, the road surface, the braking

performance, the motor power, the driving technique, etc..

For the study of in-plane dynamics, it is appropriate to reduce the real suspension to equivalent

suspension, represented by two vertical spring-damper units that connect the unsprung masses to the

sprung mass.

The parameters defining equivalent suspension are:

reduced stiffness,

reduced damping,

dependence of the reduced stiffness on the vertical displacement (progressive /degressive

suspension),

maximum travel and preload.

Now consider the front fork suspension as depicted in Fig. 5-10.

If subjected to the same vertical load, the real front fork and the equivalent vertical suspension have

equal vertical displacements. Hence, the reduced stiffness kf and the real stiffness k have to satisfy the

following equation:

Consider now the fork and the equivalent suspension with just the damping devices. If the same

vertical velocity on the wheel hub is imposed, the viscous vertical forces are equal. Then, the

equivalent damping of the front suspension cf must satisfy the equation:

where c represents the damping constant of the fork. Since there are two groups of spring dampers

arranged in parallel in the fork, the stiffness k is equal to the sum of the stiffnesses of the two springs,

and the damping c is equal to the sum of the damping of the two dampers. It should be noted that the

increase in the steering head angle of inclination causes a reduction in the stiffness and damping

coefficients of the reduced suspension.

Example 1

front suspension is required with reduced vertical stiffness kf = 14 N/mm. The angle of inclination

of the fork is equal to 30. Determine the actual stiffness of each fork spring.

The overall stiffness of the fork is equal to:

k = kf cos2 = 10.5N/mm

The stiffness of the single spring must therefore be equal to 5.25 N/mm. If the caster angle is less,

and equal to 24, the stiffness of the single spring must be greater or equal to 5.84 N/mm.

Now consider the classic rear suspension represented in Fig. 5-11. The elastic force Fe is

proportional to the deformation of the spring:

where k indicates the stiffness of the

spring, its initial length and Lm the length of the deformed spring (it is a function of the swinging

arm angle of inclination ).

The elastic moment Me exerted on the swinging arm is given by the product of the force and the

velocity ratio m, .

Me = Fem,

m, is the ratio between the springs deformation velocity and the swinging arm angular velocity:

We can consider that the swinging arm has, in place of the effective spring, a torsional spring that

generates a moment equal to the one generated by the effective spring. The derivative of the elastic

moment, with respect to the angle of rotation of the swinging arm, represents the reduced stiffness of

the torsional spring:

The second term is less important than the first, and, in a first approximation, it can be ignored.

The rear suspension can also be substituted by a vertical spring attached to the wheel hub, rather

than a torsional spring.

The reduced elastic force F is equal to the product of the elastic force exerted by the spring and the

velocity ratio

:

where

represents the ratio between the deformation velocity of the spring (which is obviously

equal to the velocity of the damper) and the vertical velocity of the wheel.

In this case, the reduced vertical stiffness is equal to the derivative of the vertical force applied to

the wheel pin with respect to the vertical displacement of the wheel:

The velocity ratio depends on the geometric characteristics of the rear suspension mechanism and

varies with the vertical wheel travel.

In the case of the classic swinging arm, the velocity ratio is:

where xT , yT indicate the coordinates of the spring-damper pin attached to the chassis.

Now consider the damping force:

The damping moment acting on the swinging arm is given by the product of the force and the

velocity ratio m, :

Ms = Fs m,

The reduced damping of the torsional damper is obtained by the ratio between the damping

moment and the angular velocity:

Substituting, we obtain:

It should be noted that the vertical force depends on the velocity ratio, while the reduced stiffness and

damping depend on the square of the velocity ratio. The velocity ratio

in suspension systems

based on the four-bar linkage varies from 0.25 to 0.5. This means that the stiffness and the damping of

the spring-shock absorber group must be between 4 and 16 times greater than the values of the

reduced spring-shock absorber group.

The curve representing the elastic force against the vertical displacement of the wheel can have a

linear trace, or a progressively increasing or decreasing one, to which a constant, increasing or

decreasing reduced stiffness corresponds, as shown in Fig. 5-12. These cases are referred to,

respectively, as linear, progressive or degressive suspension.

Fig. 5-12 Elastic force and stiffness of the suspension versus the vertical wheel travel.

For the sake of comfort in motion, it would be appropriate for the stiffness to be as low as

possible, so as to minimize natural frequencies of the motorcycle vibration modes, in relation to the

excitation frequencies of the motion imposed on the wheels by irregularities in the road plane. Very

soft springs, however, cause wide variations in vehicle height as the load varies, as well as significant

variations in trim, in the passage from rectilinear to curved motion, and during the acceleration and

braking phases.

On the other hand, with irregularities in the road surface, very hard springs can cause, besides

drastically reduced comfort, tire adherence problems in the rear section during acceleration and in

the front section in braking.

To avoid these difficulties, more or less progressive suspension systems are employed in

accordance with the type of use of the vehicle. Substantially, progressive suspension provides two

important advantages:

an increase in stiffness together with an increase in deformation, which enables the maintenance

of more or less constant frequency of the modes of vibration in the plane as the vehicle mass

increases (an increase caused, for example, by the passenger or the luggage);

the suspension is soft in the case of small disturbances and thus in the case of small wheel travel,

while it is rigid in the case of high wheel travel due to more severe disturbances. Riding comfort

is thereby increased.

To regulate the trim of the motorcycle, for example, under variation of the load, preloading of the

springs can be used. Preloading consists of a pre-compression of the spring. If the spring is stressed

with forces that are lower than or equal to that of preloading, it is not deformed.

The force exerted by the spring, with preload, is:

F = k y + k y

where y indicates the deformation due to preload.

Preloading also makes it possible to limit deformation in compression of the spring-shock

absorber group. The graph of Fig. 5-13 shows that with preloading, in order to obtain maximum

amplitude greater forces must be applied or conversely, that with the same force applied the

amplitude will be less.

Figure 5-14a shows a suspension with a spring that is not preloaded. The static load of the sprung

mass compresses the spring-shock absorber group by an amount that depends on the stiffness of the

spring, assuming that during forward motion the sprung mass is not displaced in the vertical

direction, i.e. it ideally does not encounter irregularities in the road surface.

In order for the wheel to follow the profile when passing over a hole, the spring-shock absorber

group needs to be able to extend by a quantity equal to the depth of the hole. In the case of suspension

without preload, the extension, or better the holes depth, can at most be equal to the ratio between the

weight force of the sprung mass and the stiffness of the suspension.

However, in the case of suspension with a preloaded spring, illustrated in Fig. 5-14b, the maximum

extension of the spring-shock absorber group is less, in this example, by a quantity equal to the

preload.

The preload therefore governs the maximum value of the wheel travel in extension. The capacity of

the suspension to follow the irregularities below the road plane depends on this value. These

irregularities are called negative. For example, if a preload is applied that is equal to the static load,

the wheel will not be able to follow the negative irregularities. In fact, in Fig. 5-15 it can be observed

that, with an increase in the force of the preload, the field of the amplitudes of the suspension for the

negative irregularities diminishes.

An approximate value of the reduced stiffness of a suspension can be determined on the basis of

simple static considerations. The maximum load on either the front or rear wheels can be equal to the

total weight of the motorcycle plus the rider. Such circumstances can occur under the limiting

condition of a wheeling or forward fall of the motorcycle, respectively. Stiffness depends on the

value of the wheel travel required in this condition:

If it is required that for a set load (for example, the static load acting on a wheel due to the weight

of the motorcycle plus the rider) the same preload amplitude applies, then different preloads must be

adopted by varying the values of the suspension stiffness, as illustrated in Fig. 5-16.

The front forks have a slightly progressive behavior because of the influence of air contained in

the sleeves, which acts like a pneumatic spring positioned in parallel with the helicoidal spring.

The elastic force, with the influence of the pneumatic spring, is given by the equation:

where:

ky represents the force generated by the preload;

ky represents the linear force of the metal spring.

The third term represents the influence of the pneumatic spring; p1 indicates the initial air pressure

contained in the sleeve of the fork; V1 the initial volume of air and A the area of the section of the

cylindrical chamber that contains the air. The effect of the compressed air increases with the decrease

of the initial air volume contained in the fork and the increase in wheel travel y .

The value of the reduced fork stiffness varies according to the weight of the motorcycle and its use.

Values (for one fork leg) range from about 10 N/mm for light motorcycles to values of about 20

N/mm for heavy motorcycles. The progressive behavior due to the use of variable springs, or to the

use of several springs placed in series and having different rigidities, and/or to the influence of air,

causes an increase in the stiffness at the end of the stroke, which can be evaluated as 30 to 50%.

Example 2

Consider a motorcycle with a total mass (including the rider) of 200 kg and with a distribution of the

loads at 50% - 50%. Let the unsprung mass in front be 18 kg and the angle of inclination of the

steering head 24.

Calculate the stiffness of the reduced spring so that with a load equal to the weight of the

motorcycle the fork is compressed by 80 mm.

The maximum weight on the spring is equal to the weight force of the motorcycle minus the weight

force of the front unsprung mass. The equivalent vertical stiffness is:

k = kf cos2 = 9.18 N/mm

Finally, let us calculate the deflection of the spring, under conditions of static equilibrium,

supposing that the spring of the fork is preloaded by 20 mm:

Example 3

Now let us evaluate the stiffness of a fork taking into account the influence of air.

initial volume of air: case a)

initial volume of air: case b)

cross section area of the cylindrical chamber: A = 10 cm2;

initial pressure:

p1 =1 bar;

k =8 N/mm;

preload:

y =10 mm.

Figure 5-17 shows the increase in elastic forces and stiffness, under the variation of the deformation

of the spring for two different initial volumes of air.

The influence of the pneumatic spring becomes important when the air volume is strongly

compressed. For high wheel travel the value of the stiffness can even be doubled. The initial volume

of air in the sleeve depends on the quantity of oil contained in the sleeve. A large quantity of oil

corresponds to a lower initial volume and therefore to an increase in the influence of the pneumatic

spring. Stiffness values and the loads presented in Fig. 5-17 refer to only one spring; therefore the

fork as a whole will have a stiffness twice that indicated.

5.3.6 Re ar s us pe ns i on s ti ffne s s

Having the curve of desired progressive behavior, the synthesis of the mechanisms can be carried

out by means of numerical optimization algorithms. Generally, the ratio between the vertical velocity

of the wheel and the deformation velocity of the spring-shock absorber group (the inverse of the ratio

) has values varying from 2 to 4. The higher values, with equal wheel travel rate, cause small

deformation velocities of the shock absorber and there is the need to use shock absorbers of larger

dimensions.

Figure 5-18 shows the kinematic scheme and the movement of a rear four-bar linkage suspension,

with the spring-shock absorber group fastened between the chassis and the rocker. This mechanism

makes it possible to generate curves with a significant progressive rate. As illustrated in the curves of

the three examples shown on the right in the figure, the degree of the stiffness rising-rate depends on

the positions of the spring attachment point. The greatest value of the velocity ratio, and therefore the

greatest raising rate, is attained when the spring is orthogonal to the rocker.

Figure 5-19 represents a kinematic diagram with the spring fastened between the chassis and the

connecting link. With this arrangement we attain very different curves of stiffness, as the position of

the point to which the spring is attached varies. The right-hand figure shows how it is possible to

obtain degressive, progressive and approximately constant stiffness.

Fig. 5-18 Rear suspension with the spring attached to the rocker arm.

Fig. 5-19 Rear suspension with the spring attached to the connecting link.

Example 4

Consider a classic rear suspension with a swing-arm having the following characteristics:

length of swinging arm:

L = 0.6 m;

length of undeformed spring:

In the initial position, corresponding to y = 0 the axis of the wheel is lowered by 100 mm in relation

to the pivot of the swinging arm.

In the graph in Fig. 5-20, the variation of the reduced vertical stiffness (made dimensionless with

respect to the initial value calculated in correspondence to y = 0) under variation of the vertical

displacement of the wheel pin y, is shown for various values of the initial inclination angle of the

spring.

Fig. 5-20 Stiffness curve for various inclination values of the spring-shock absorber group.

Fig. 5-21 Stiffness curve for various values of the ratio between the spring distance and the length

of the swinging arm.

One can observe that when increasing the initial inclination of the spring, the curves obtained are

characterized by a greater stiffness rising-rate.

Figure 5-21 shows the influence of the position of the spring attachment point, expressed by the

ratio between the arm L1 and the length of the swinging arm L. It can be observed that positioning the

spring attachment point close to the swinging arm pivot causes an increase in the stiffness rate. The

progressive behavior attainable with the classic suspension, with long springs that are greatly inclined

and fastened near the swinging arm pivot, can reach 50-60% at most.

Example 5

Consider the suspension in the preceding example and evaluate the torsional stiffness when the

springs are inclined 135 to the horizontal. Take the stiffness of the spring as k = 80 kN/m.

The reduced torsional stiffness is equal to:

k = 4.30 km/rad for y = 0:

k = 5.67 kNm/rad for y = 150 mm.

In the latter case, the principal term k

gives a value of 5.31 kNm/rad, while the secondary term

gives a lower value of 0.46 kNm/rad.

Consider a motorcycle traveling at constant velocity V which at a certain instant encounters a step

with height h. To climb the step, the wheel must advance by a distance s :

Consider first the case of a motorcycle with no suspension systems. The time the wheel takes to

climb the step is equal to the ratio:

In that case, the advancement s of the wheel corresponds exactly to the advancement of the

motorcycle. The velocity and vertical acceleration of the wheel are:

Example 6

At a velocity of 10 m/s, a wheel of radius R = 0.307 m travels over an obstacle 50 mm high in an

interval equal to 0.0168 s. In that time the wheel climbs to a height equal to the step so that the average

vertical lift speed is 3.3 m/s. The maximum value of the velocity is reached at the initial instant and is

equal to 6.5 m/s.

The maximum vertical acceleration also occurs at the initial instant (assuming that the tire is

infinitely rigid), and is 555 m/s2, which is 55 times the acceleration due to gravity. Actually, the

acceleration is much lower, since the tire is deformed and partially absorbs the impulse.

This simple example shows the importance of the suspension.

In the case of a motorcycle with suspension, the time taken by the wheel to climb the step depends

on the type of suspension and no longer just on the dimensions of the obstacle.

When the front wheel provided with suspension climbs a step the force transmitted to the chassis

depends on both the elastic and the damping characteristics of the suspension (Fig. 5-22). At low

velocities, the elastic force prevails while at medium and high velocities the damping force is

dominant.

Fig. 5-22 The front wheel at the beginning and end of climbing the step.

Example 7

Let us consider a front suspension with the following properties: k = 8000 N/m and c = 500 Ns/m, and

suppose that while climbing the same step of example 6 the chassis (sprung mass) does not raise.

Determine the elastic and damping forces at a forward velocity of 1 m/s and 10 m/s.

Case 1: = 27

The elastic force depends only on the deformation of the spring. Its maximum value is 356 N. If the

forward velocity is low (1 m/s), the elastic force is greater than the damping force which is equal to

291 m/s. At a velocity of 10 m/s the damping force prevails (2916 N) and is at a maximum at the

beginning of climbing the step.

Case 2: = 33.

As the angle of inclination of the fork increases, both the maximum value of the elastic force (335

N) and that of the viscous force (2740 N) diminish.

Let us now consider the rear wheel provided with a suspension. Let us assume that the vertical

position of the vehicle chassis does not change while overcoming the obstacle, or that the swinging

arm pivot moves along the x-axis (Fig. 5-23).

The time necessary for the rear wheel to pass from the initial to the final position depends on the

velocity of the vehicle and the geometry of the suspension (length of the fork, radius of the wheel,

initial angle of inclination of the fork). The time needed to run over the obstacle is given by the

following expression:

where:

1 indicates the initial angle of inclination;

2 indicates the final angle of inclination;

s indicates the distance between the pin of the wheel and the step.

The time t employed by the wheel to climb the step can differ from the time used by the vehicle to

travel the distance s : when the wheel climbs the step and advances by distance s in the same time used

by the vehicle to advance by the same distance s , the behavior of the suspension is defined as neutral.

In the case of climbing times t that exceed those of the neutral suspension, the behavior of the

suspension is referred to as positive.

Fig. 5-23 The rear wheel at the beginning and end of climbing the step.

The suspension has positive behavior when the fork, in both the initial and final positions, remains

below the x axis (Fig. 5-24); in the case of climbing times t that are lower than the neutral

suspension, the behavior of the suspension is referred to as negative. The suspension behaves

negatively when the fork remains above the x axis in both the initial and the final position (Fig. 5-25).

The circular trajectory described by the center of the wheel in climbing the step is therefore

covered in differing times according to the type of behavior of the suspension. In the case of

suspension with positive behavior, the trajectory is traversed in a greater time interval. This subjects

the wheel to lower vertical accelerations. In particular, the deformation law of the spring-shock

absorber group shows lower acceleration.

Fig. 5-24 Rear suspension with positive behavior ( s < V t ).

Example 8

Let us consider a rear wheel with the following properties:

wheel radius:

Rr = 0.307 m;

obstacle height:

h = 0.05 m;

velocity:

V = 10 m/s.

The peak value of vertical acceleration depends on the behavior of the rear suspension:

As mentioned earlier, peak acceleration is lower in the case of positive suspension. The peak value

increases as the radius of the wheel decreases. A diminution of 10% in the wheel radius causes a 5%

increase in the peak acceleration value.

A diminution of the deformation velocity of the shock absorber is obtained by increasing the

inclination of the spring-shock absorber unit. For example, passing from the vertical position to an

angle of 45 reduces the viscous force maximum by 35%.

The same considerations can also be extended to the front suspension. The classic telescopic fork

suspension is positive while the pulled or pushed arm suspension can be positive or negative

according to the arms angle.

Fig. 5-26 Front suspension with forward arms with negative and positive behavior.

Consider a motorcycle traveling at constant velocity under a thrust that is also constant.

Actually, the transmission of the thrust force always occurs in the presence of a relative slip

between the tire and the road (the peripheral velocity of the tire is greater than the forward velocity of

the motorcycle). Suppose the thrust force is constant and therefore the relative slip is also constant.

If there is relative motion between the chassis and the swinging arm (for example, because of

irregularities in the road plane), there will be extra slip that will be added to, or subtracted from, the

necessary slip due to the thrust.

To evaluate the amount of slip due to the oscillations of the swinging arm, we need to concentrate

our attention on the relative motion of the rear arm with respect to the chassis.

The model can be simplified by assuming that the driving sprocket concentric with the axis of the

swinging arm and that the motorcycle is stopped with its engine off (Fig. 5-27).

Let us suppose that initially the sprocket is lock to ground with the swinging arm and wheel free to

rotate (Fig 5-27 b). If the swinging arm is rotated by the angle , the point of contact of the chain on

the drive sprocket is rotated by the same angle while a portion of the chain of length rp , equal to

the product of the angle of rotation by the radius of the sprocket, does not rotate.

In this situation, the wheel is subject to:

a counterclockwise rotation , due to the rotation of the swinging arm (Fig. 5-27 b),

a clockwise rotation , caused by the extension of a portion of the chain from the larger wheel

sprocket (Fig. 5-27 c).

The clockwise rotation is equal to:

indicates the transmission ratio between the driving sprocket and the rear sprocket.

Let be the point belonging to the tire which at the initial instant represents the contact point

between the tire and the ground. Following the oscillation of the fork, it is rotated through the angle:

= (1 cp )

therefore represents the slide angle due to the rotation of the swinging arm. slide length of Rr

corresponds to the slippage angle (Rr indicates the radius of the wheel).

In conclusion, giving a counterclockwise rotation on the swinging arm, i.e., compressing the rear

suspension, causes a slip that is added to that needed to transmit the thrust. Therefore, it is correct to

state that the slip between the wheel and the ground increases during the compression of the

suspension and diminishes during its extension.

If we suppose that the swinging arm is subject to an oscillatory motion:

(t) = o + sint

the angular velocity of slippage of the contact point is:

This means that during forward motion at constant velocity V , a fluctuating component is

superimposed on the constant angular velocity of rotation of the wheel = V / Rr . Actually, the

slippage due to the swinging arm oscillations transmits fluctuations to the sprocket motion as well, so

that the irregularity of the motor s rotation is increased. In the same way, the pull on the chain is

composed of a constant tension, to which a fluctuating tension generated by swinging arm oscillation

is added.

In the more general case in which the sprocket is not concentric with the swinging arm pivot (Fig.

5-28), the expression for the slippage of point Pr is slightly modified.

Fig. 5-28 The slippage of the contact point of the rear wheel with a sprocket keyed in a generic

position.

In fact, the chain rotates through an angle which is smaller than the rotation angle imposed

on the swinging arm. Furthermore, the distance between the points of tangency of the chain with the

rear sprocket and the driving sprocket varies with the variation of the swinging arm rotation angle.

The length of the upper branch of the chain is at a maximum when the axis of the driving sprocket

is aligned with the swinging arm axis (Fig. 5-29).

Fig. 5-29 Maximum length of the upper branch of the chain.

The wheel rotates in a counterclockwise direction equal to and a simultaneous clockwise rotation

equal to :

Lc represents the variation in length of the upper branch of the chain (a reduction has a negative

sign). The point P of the tire therefore rotates through the angle:

=

Since the term Lc is negligible with respect to the product rp , the sliding velocity depends

substantially on the transmission ratio between rear sprocket and driving sprocket and on the angle

which depends on the length of the swinging arm.

The motorcycle, in straight running, is characterized by five degrees of freedom (one of which is

associated with the vehicle forward motion), and is made up of three rigid bodies:

the sprung mass (chassis, engine and rider);

the rear unsprung mass (wheel, brake and part of the swinging arm);

the front unsprung mass (wheel, brake and part of the fork).

In general the in-plane motion of the motorcycle can be considered as the combination of a vertical

motion (bounce) and a rotating motion (pitch). These two motions correspond to the vibration modes

of the motorcycle in the plane.

Only by ignoring the unsprung masses, and considering the system of two degrees of freedom as

uncoupled, we can treat the motorcycle in the plane with two models each having one degree of

freedom: one for the vertical bounce and the other for the pitching motion (Fig. 5-30). Considering

the motorcycle as an uncoupled system is the same as assuming that, imposing a vertical displacement

of the chassis, the consequent movement is composed only of vertical oscillations or that, imposing a

rotation of the chassis around an axis passing through the center of gravity, the resulting motion is

one of pure pitch.

We, therefore, consider that the motorcycle in the plane is composed of only one sprung mass,

sustained by two springs, which represent the action of the suspension and the tires. The reduced

stiffness of the suspension is connected in series with the stiffness of the tires, so that the equivalent

elastic constants Kf and Kr for the front and rear sections respectively, are:

where:

kf is the reduced stiffness of the front suspension;

kr is the reduced stiffness of the rear suspension;

is the radial stiffness of the front tire;

is the radial stiffness of the rear tire.

Example 9

Consider a motorcycle with a reduced rear suspension stiffness of kr = 20 N/mm.

Compare the overall stiffness of the system with a rather stiff (

tire (

) rear tire.

With a radially stiff rear tire the overall stiffness is Kr = 18.5 N/mm (-7.4 %), while with a rather

deformable rear tire the result is Kr = 17.1 N/mm (-14.3 %).

The equilibrium equations of vertical forces and the moment about the horizontal axis:

provide the expressions for natural frequencies of the vertical bounce mode, and for the pitching

mode, where is the polar moment of inertia around the y axis.

The natural frequencies b , p respectively, for the vertical bounce motion and the pitch motion

are:

In general, the radius of inertia is less than the distances b and ( p b ) so that the frequency of the

pitching motion p is greater than that of the vertical bounce motion b .

In this section, we have assumed that the two main vibration modes are uncoupled. This is an ideal

condition that is not met in reality because these two modes are generally coupled to each other. The

coupling of the modes can be experienced by uniformly lowering the entire motorcycle, without

allowing it to rotate and then leaving it free to vibrate. It is easy to verify that both the vertical and the

pitch motions are excited. In the same way, by imposing a rotation of the motorcycle around the

center of gravity both the pitch and the vertical motions are excited.

In conclusion, because of the road irregularities, the motorcycle oscillates with a motion that is a

combination of two vibration modes; i.e., the motorcycle oscillates vertically and pitches at the same

time.

Example 10

Consider a motorcycle with the following characteristics:

p = 1.4 m;

wheelbase:

m = 200 kg;

sprung mass

pitch moment of inertia:

reduced stiffness of the front suspension:

kf = 15 kN/m;

kr = 24 kN/m;

Determine the equivalent stiffness of the front and rear sections. Then determine the bounce and pitch

frequencies.

The equivalent stiffnesses are:

front stiffness: Kf = 13.85 kN/m;

rear stiffness:

Kr = 21.18 kN/m.

bounce motion: b = 2.11 Hz;

pitch motion:

p = 3.38 Hz.

The frequency of the vertical bounce motion is less than that of the pitch motion (b<p ). Resonance

occurs in correspondence with the following values of the vehicle velocity in the presence of an

irregularity on the road plane with a wavelength of 6 m,

pitch motion:

The suspension stiffness values are significantly lower than those for tire stiffness (tire stiffness is

approximately 6-12 times suspension stiffness). The unsprung mass m is, therefore, connected to the

ground with a hard spring and to the sprung mass with a soft spring. In a first approximation, the

influence of the connection to the suspended mass can be ignored. In this way, the unsprung mass,

elastically supported by the vertical stiffness of the tire alone, can be represented by a simple system

with one degree of freedom. Therefore the natural frequency of the vertical motion of the unsprung

mass is (Fig. 5-32):

Fig. 5-32 Model with one degree of freedom of the vertical movement of the wheel.

Example 11

Consider the motorcycle of the previous example.

With the unsprung masses, 15 kg on the front and 18 kg on the rear. Determine the natural

frequencies.

The natural frequencies are:

vertical motion of the front tire:

vertical motion of the rear tire:

With an irregularity in the road plane with a wavelength of 3 m, the condition of resonance occurs in

correspondence with a vehicle forward velocity of 52.3 and 47.5 m/s, respectively, for the front and

rear wheels.

If we ignore the unsprung masses, the system has two degrees of freedom. They can be associated

with the vertical displacement of the motorcycle center of gravity (sprung mass), and with its pitch

rotation about a horizontal axis (Fig. 5-33).

Fig. 5-33 Model of the motorcycle in the plane with two degrees of freedom.

When studying the modes of vibration, having ignored the unsprung masses, does not lead to

significant inaccuracies since the stiffness of the suspension is 6 to 12 times smaller than the vertical

stiffness of the tires. The influence of the unsprung masses becomes important at medium and high

frequencies of the irregularities in the road plane, i.e., at high velocities and short wavelengths.

The free oscillations, ignoring the damping effect, are described by the following equations:

The two roots of the equation are the undamped systems two natural frequencies. The ratio

between the amplitudes of the vertical oscillation and the pitch oscillation is given by the equation

These expressions represent the distance from the center of rotation to the center of gravity.

Example 12

Consider the motorcycle in example 10.

The natural frequencies calculated with the two degrees of freedom model, are:

vertical bounce motion: b = 2.02 Hz;

pitching motion:

p = 3.42 Hz.

These values differ at most by 4% with respect to the corresponding values calculated when

considering two uncoupled systems with one degree of freedom each.

The first mode of vibration, represented in Fig. 5-34, is basically a vertical bounce motion of the

motorcycle. The instantaneous rotation center is located behind the motorcycle at a distance s1 = 2.08

m from the center of gravity.

Fig. 5-34 First mode of motorcycle vibration in the plane (vertical bounce mode, i = 1 ).

The second mode, represented in Fig. 5-35, is essentially a pitch mode, its rotation center is located

immediately in front of the center of gravity, at a distance of only s2 = 0.09m.

Fig. 5-35 Second mode of motorcycle vibration in the plane (pitching mode i = 2 ).

Only if the following condition between stiffnesses and distances is fulfilled can the two motion

equations, for z and respectively (p. 174), be uncoupled:

Krb + Kf (p b) = 0

Therefore, the natural frequencies will be equal to those previously determined in the models with

one degree of freedom.

In this case the first mode, called the bounce mode, now becomes a pure vertical translation while

the second mode, called the pitch mode, becomes a pure rotation around the center of gravity. In this

case where the modes are not coupled, the distance s1 from the rotation center of the first mode tends

towards infinity, while the distance s2 from the center of rotation of the second mode is zero.

Example 13

Consider the motorcycle of the previous example. Determine the value of b needed to uncouple the

bounce and pitch modes.

The uncoupling of the pitch motion from the bounce motion can be accomplished by reducing the

distance b to a value of 0.55 m. Consequently the distribution of the weights becomes 40% on the

front section and 60% on the rear.

The uncoupling can also be obtained by modifying the stiffness of the suspensions. Since the

distances ( p b ) and b are equal, the stiffness of the front suspension needs to be equal to that of the

rear suspension, i.e., equal to 24 kN/m.

As mentioned earlier, the motorcycle in its plane of symmetry can be represented as three rigid

bodies whose vibrating motion is described by four independent coordinates, as illustrated in Fig. 5-

36:

the vertical displacement of the sprung mass center;

the pitching rotation of the sprung mass;

the vertical displacements of the two unsprung masses (the equivalent masses at the center of the

wheels).

The equations of free, undamped motion are summed up in the following matrix equation:

The natural frequencies are calculated by solving the related eigenvalue problem numerically.

Rewriting the equations of free motion, using coordinates zf , Zf , zr , Zr, brings some interesting

points to light.

Observing the mass matrix, we note that the first two equations are uncoupled from the other two if

the following term is zero:

That is, the product of the distances ( p b ) and b equals the square of the inertia radius

In this case, the four equations represent two mono-suspensions with two degrees of freedom that

are independent of each other, as shown in Fig. 5-37. The first two expressions describe the behavior

of the front mono-suspension, while the last two describe the rear one.

From a physics point of view, this means that the suspended mass can be represented by an

equivalent dynamic system composed of two masses placed at the extremities in correspondence with

the two wheels:

The suspended mass m is distributed between the front section ( Mf ) and the rear section ( Mr ) in

the same proportion in which the static loads on the wheels are distributed.

It is vital to specify that this condition is difficult to accomplish under real conditions (with

reference to the suggested example, the product of the distances ( p b ) b is equal to 0.49, while the

square of the inertia radius is 0.44), nevertheless it is important from a physics point of view.

Therefore, in assuming that this condition does apply, it is possible to conclude that the vertical

displacements of the front and rear sections will occur independently of each other, and that,

therefore, the pitching motion depends on the value of the phase between the two vertical motions.

Ignoring the unsprung masses, the natural frequencies of the two systems can be easily calculated.

For the front and rear sections, we have:

These frequencies are equal if the necessary condition for the uncoupling of the vertical motion from

the pitching Krb = Kf ( p b) is satisfied.

In this case, the bounce has the same frequency as the pitch motion, so that each free motion is

made up of a combination of vertical and rotational oscillations with the same frequency.

Generally, the front suspension has a relatively lower stiffness than the rear suspension and,

therefore, the frequency of the front section is lower than the frequency of the rear section. In

percentage terms f is equal to 70 to 80% of r .

The suspension stiffness requirement can be evaluated on the basis of considerations on the

frequencies of the front and rear sections. For good riding comfort, the two frequencies should have

values around 1.5 Hz, and the pitch rotation center should be located in the area of the rider s seat.

In racing vehicles, known for their rather rigid suspensions, the natural frequencies vary from 2 Hz

to 2.6 Hz.

Usually in street motorcycles and in scooters, the distance ( p b ) is greater than b , and therefore

in order to obtain the same natural frequency at both the front and rear sections, the stiffness at the

front should be assumed to be less than the rear.

To evaluate the approximate values of the frequencies of the front and rear sections experimentally,

the static deflections f , r , due to the weight pressing on the two wheels need to be measured. As

such the corresponding frequencies are given by the equations:

Example 14

Consider the vehicle described previously and suppose that the unsprung masses have the following

values:

front mass: m f = 15 kg;

rear mass:

mr = 18 kg.

The four natural frequencies are: 2.03, 3.42, 16.98, 18.18 Hz; it is useful to recall that the natural

frequencies of the sprung mass, calculated while the unsprung masses are ignored, are equal to 2.11,

3.38 Hz, while those of the unsprung masses are equal to 15.91 and 17.43 Hz.

Example 15

The sprung masses on the front and rear sections are, in the case of load distribution 50% - 50%,

equal to Mf = Mr = 100 kg. Determine the natural frequencies of the front and rear sections.

Ignoring the unsprung masses, the natural frequencies are:

front section frequency: f = 1.87 Hz;

rear section frequency:

r = 2.32 Hz.

Example 16

motorcycle with a weight (including the rider) of 1970 has a front unsprung mass of 14 kg and a

rear one of 16 kg. With a 50% - 50% distribution of the loads, calculate the front and rear reduced

stiffnesses in such a way that the front frequency is equal to 1.9 Hz and that of the rear 2.3 Hz.

The masses pressing down on the suspensions are:

The reduced stiffnesses of the suspensions, taking into account the tire stiffnesses, have the values:

In Fig. 5-38 the in-plane modes of vibration of the motorcycle are given, calculated with a

mathematical model that takes into account the motorcycle geometry. The meaning of the damping

ratio will be explained in the next section.

5.9.1 Os ci l l atory m oti on i m pos e d by road i rre gul ari ti e s

Consider a motorcycle running on a sinusoidal profile road at constant velocity V and suppose that

the motorcycle can be represented by two separate mono-suspensions. Suppose furthermore that the

unsprung masses are negligible. The model of the mono-suspension with one degree of freedom can

Consider the front suspension affected by the motion caused by road irregularities, represented in

Fig. 5-39. The contact point of the wheel with the road profile moves in harmonic motion according

to the law:

y = yosin2t

= V/L represents the frequency of the motion imposed on the system by the road irregularities:

It can easily be demonstrated that in steady state (periodic response) the ratio between the amplitude

Zo of the vertical motion of the sprung mass and the amplitude yo of the imposed motion is:

n represents the frequency of the mono-suspension. The ratio T is called transmissibility. In Fig. 5-40

the transmissibility curves T for various values of the damping ratio are given. It is useful to recall

that the damping ratio is given by the equation:

From the graph it is clear that the transmissibility, for any value of the damping, is always equal to

one at the value of the frequency ratio. This value appears when the forward velocity satisfies the

relationship:

If the wavelength is equal to 6 m and the natural frequency is equal to 2 Hz, the transmissibility has

a value of unity when the forward velocity is equal to approximately 17 m/s.

The plot clearly highlights that:

for values of the frequency ratio less than (velocity V < 17 m/s), the introduction of suspension

increases the oscillation amplitude (T >1). Therefore, the application of suspension is useful (T

<1) only for values of the frequency ratio greater than (velocity V > 17 m/s);

high values of the damping ratio attenuate the increase in transmissibility for ratios of the

frequencies less than (velocity V < 17 m/s), but they worsen the responsiveness of the system at

high velocities (velocity V > 17 m/s).

For the study of riding comfort, the vertical acceleration graph of the motorcycle is more interesting.

The rider (which in this model is assumed to be fixed to the motorcycle and forced to move along the

vertical axis), perceives a sensation of comfort, which is related to the accelerations to which his

body is subjected.

Figure 5-41 represents the transmissibility of vertical acceleration, as a function of the ratio of the

All the curves assume the value of 2, when the frequency ratio is equal to , but with different

slopes. The slope is zero when the value of the damping ratio is equal to:

The curve characterized by such a slope ensures minimum accelerations around the point /n = 2 .

The ratio = 0.354 represents the optimal value around the point considered. The graph allows us to

draw the following important conclusions:

the suspension behaves like a filter that cuts the high frequencies and amplifies those found in a

narrow band around the condition of resonance.

a significant increase in riding comfort can be obtained by reducing the motorcycles natural

frequency values. This reduction can be obtained by diminishing suspension stiffness, that is by

using softer springs. It must be noted, however, that excessively soft springs can compromise the

vehicle trim especially in phases of rapid acceleration or sudden stops.

Consider the mono-suspension illustrated in Fig. 5-42, and suppose that the mass is oscillating

freely and that, at the initial instant, it passes through the position of static equilibrium at velocity Zo .

The law of harmonic motion, assuming zero damping, is:

In order to reduce maximum acceleration, it is necessary to attach a viscous shock absorber to the

spring; hence, the mass oscillates freely after a disturbance according to the following law:

The evaluation of riding comfort can be associated with the maximum peak of vertical acceleration

of the sprung mass. The best comfort occurs when peak acceleration is at a minimum.

The graph of Fig. 5-43 shows the course of the vertical acceleration of the sprung mass for several

values of the damping ratio. The ideal condition to provide a comfortable ride is with a damping ratio

value of 0.35, at which the acceleration becomes minimal.

It is important to note that the optimal value of the damping ratio coincides with that derived

previously on the basis of the periodic response in steady state.

Fig. 5-43 Acceleration after a road bump for various values of the damping ratio.

5.9.3 Cons i de rati ons on s i ngl e and doubl e e ffe ct s hock abs orbe rs

Suppose that the mono-suspension moves along a cosinusoidal shaped bump and assume that the

time necessary for the vehicle to transit the irregularity is small compared to the inverse of the

natural frequency of the system (Fig. 5-44).

The viscous shock absorber affects the motion of the sprung mass during the passage over the road

irregularity. We evaluate its influence in three cases:

a shock absorber with constant c acting in both the compression and extension phases (double

effect);

a shock absorber with constant 2 c acting only in the compression phase (single effect);

a shock absorber with constant 2c acting only in the extension phase (single effect).

Example 17

Consider a mono-suspension with the following properties:

sprung mass:

M = 140 kg;

stiffness:

K = 20 kN/m;

C = 2342 Ns/m;

C = 2342 Ns/m.

The natural frequency n is equal to 1.9 Hz.

The bump has a height of 0.008 m and a length of 0.6 m. With a forward velocity of 15 m/s, the

bump is passed over in 0.04 s; it is assumed that the wheel never departs from the road profile.

Figure 5.45 shows the course of the displacement of the sprung mass versus the time. It can be

noted that a double effect damper behaves optimally, since it has less displacement from the position

of static equilibrium.

Fig. 5-45 Traveling over a bump: evolution of the displacement of the sprung mass.

The behavior of the double effect shock absorber can be easily explained if the time employed in

driving over the bump is compared with the natural period of the suspension. Since the natural period

is of a larger order of magnitude, an almost impulsive force on the sprung mass is exerted on the

shock absorber, first with a positive sign and then with a negative sign, which produces overall equal

effects of opposite sign.

However, in the case of a shock absorber acting only in the compression or extension phase, the

sprung mass undergoes, respectively, a positive or negative impulse.

Fig. 5-46 Traveling over a bump: evolution of the acceleration of the sprung mass.

The acceleration graph (Fig. 5-46) highlights an important aspect. The shock absorber with

damping only in extension has the characteristic of drastically reducing the positive acceleration of

the sprung mass, so that the rider is not subjected to annoying accelerations upward that could throw

him off the saddle.

Now consider the mono-suspension passing over a step. Figure 5-47 highlights the different

behavior of the mono-suspension in going over the step compared to the passage over a bump. The

suspension with the shock absorber, which operates only in extension, enables a passage over the step

without harmful oscillations of the sprung mass.

Fig. 5-47 Passage over a step: evolution of the displacement of the sprung mass.

The shock absorber that is active only in compression is stressed (the force is proportional to

velocity) at a level such as to compromise its integrity.

Fig. 5-48 Passage over a step: evolution of acceleration of the suspended mass.

For the purpose of riding comfort, the graph representing the acceleration of the sprung mass

against time (Fig. 5-48) clearly shows that the shock absorber must act primarily in extension.

We have seen that the damping coefficient in compression should be lower than that in extension,

because when a wheel encounters a step or a bump, it must follow the profile of the obstacle without

generating too much opposing force. While if it encounters a rut or a pothole, it can jump over it with

only a temporary loss of wheel contact with the road plane.

The shock absorber characteristics are represented in a typical graph that shows the force on the

ordinate and the displacement of the imposed harmonic motion on the abscissa, as illustrated in Fig.

5-49.

As the frequency of the imposed motion increases, wide closed curves arise, the area of which

represents the energy dissipated by the damping. The energy dissipated by the double-effect shock

absorber is proportional to the frequency and to the square of the amplitude of the imposed

harmonic motion:

ce and cc indicate the constant damping coefficients respectively in extension and compression.

In addition to its non-linearity, due to the asymmetry of the damping coefficient in rebound

(deformation velocity>0) and in compression (deformation velocity<0), the shock absorber will have

a damping coefficient that varies with the velocity. Depending on how much the damping coefficient

depends on the velocity, we can have progressive or degressive behavior.

The exponent n gives the degree of dependence of the damping coefficient on the velocity.

The area of the force-displacement graph represents the energy dissipated. It can be observed that

with equal maximum force, the degressive shock absorber dissipates more energy than the linear and

progressive ones. Fig. 5-50 gives a comparison of the characteristic graphs for three cases:

linear damping;

progressive damping;

degressive damping.

The choice of the shock absorber and its calibration are made with the following features in mind:

the overall energy to be dissipated in a cycle;

the distribution of the energy to be dissipated in the two phases of extension and compression;

the value of the progressive or degressive property of the shock absorber. As far as the quantity

of energy to be dissipated is concerned, we have seen that, for the sake of a comfortable ride, the

average of the compression and extension coefficients must generally have a value of around

30-35% with respect to the critical damping.

In general, the damping in the compression phase is less than half of that in extension. The

distribution depends on the motorcycle type as well as suspension stiffness. Some riders prefer

somewhat rigid suspension with little damping in compression; others prefer additional damping in

compression, and softer suspension.

Degressive damping has the advantage that it dissipates a greater quantity of energy at an equal

maximum force level. It can be noted in Fig. 5-50 that the area of the force-stroke graph is greater in

the case of degressive damping.

We have seen that the reduced damping is equal to the product of the actual damping coefficient and

the square of the velocity ratio. Therefore, if we use a linear shock absorber (constant coefficient)

and a progressive suspension (m, yc increasing with the amplitude of the wheel), the reduced

damping is progressive because of the general progressive behavior of the suspension mechanism.

The choice of the shock absorber s degree of degressive rate must, therefore, be made by taking

into account the contrary effect generated by any progressive rate of the suspension.

Fig. 5-50 Shock absorber with double linear, progressive and degressive characteristics.

The one degree freedom, mono-suspension model has allowed us to bring to light some interesting

considerations regarding the most appropriate value of the damping ratio. However, it must be

highlighted that the model with one degree of freedom disregards the influence of the unsprung mass.

We have seen that the hop frequency of the system composed of only the unsprung mass and the tire

radial spring is in the range 12-18 Hz.

Now for example, let us consider a mono-suspension with two degrees of freedom, representing

the rear section, and observe the influence of the value of the unsprung mass on comfort and road

adherence.

Suppose a motorcycle proceeds at constant velocity along a road with a profile that imposes a

harmonic motion on the wheel, as shown in Fig. 5-51.

The equations of the motion of the sprung mass and unsprung mass are:

where M represents the sprung mass, m the unsprung mass, c the shock absorber damping, cp the tire

damping, k the suspension spring stiffness, and kp the tire radial stiffness.

The imposed motion can be described as:

where = V / L represents the frequency of the imposed motion, depending both on the forward

velocity and the road profile wavelength.

In a steady state periodic motion, the masses oscillate with the same frequency as the imposed

motion. The complex amplitudes of the sprung and unsprung masses normalized, in relation to the

amplitude of the imposed motion, are given by the following equation:

The dynamic load on the wheel is composed of a constant component, equal to the static load, and

of a fluctuating component. The minimum dynamic load on the wheel, normalized in relation to the

static load, is given by:

Example 18

Consider a suspension with the following characteristics:

sprung mass:

M = 110 kg;

tire stiffness:

kp = 130 kN/m;

unsprung mass:

m = 15 kg.

Determine the natural frequencies of the suspension, considered as a system with two degrees of

freedom:

1st mode (displacement of the sprung and unsprung masses, in phase): 1 = 2.29 Hz;

2nd mode (displacement of the sprung and unsprung masses, in opposite phase): 2 = 14.88 Hz.

By way of example, compare these two values with the frequencies calculated with the one degree

freedom models:

a system composed of only sprung mass M and suspension stiffness k : s = 2.63 Hz (see example

15);

a system composed of unsprung mass m and tire stiffness kp : t = 15.92 Hz (see example 11).

It can be observed that:

the first frequency (1 = 2.29 Hz), is near the natural frequency of the sprung mass (s = 2.63 Hz);

the second frequency (2 = 14.88 Hz), is near the value of the natural frequency of the unsprung

mass (t = 15.92 Hz).

where:

represents the frequency of the imposed motion;

s represents the frequency of the system composed of only sprung mass M and suspension stiffness k

.

Fig. 5-52 Periodic response amplitude of the sprung (solid line) and unsprung masses (dotted line)

versus the frequency ratio.

Fig. 5-53 Acceleration of the sprung (solid line) and unsprung masses (dotted line) versus the

frequency ratio.

Fig. 5-52 shows the systems response as a function of the frequency ratio , in the three following

cases:

rigid suspension;

suspension without a shock absorber;

suspension with damping ratio of 0.3.

The calculated natural frequencies of the two vibration modes of the suspension (1 = 2.29 Hz , 2 =

14.88 Hz) correspond, respectively, to = 0.87 and = 5.66. Without suspension, i.e., with infinite

suspension stiffness, the natural frequency depends only on the tire stiffness and the sum of the

masses:

Its value, with the data of the preceding exercise, is equal to 4.5 Hz ( = 1.71).

The damping ratio is calculated in relation to the critical damping

of the system with one

degree of freedom, which is obtained by assuming that the unsprung mass is zero and the tire stiffness

infinite.

For the purposes of riding comfort, the acceleration graphs can be obtained from the previous

ones by multiplying the displacement by the square of the frequency ratio. The following interesting

conclusions can be drawn:

all the curves for the sprung mass displacement amplitude pass through the points A, B, C and D ;

in the frequency ranges A B and C D the maximum acceleration of the sprung mass

diminishes with an increase in damping, while for values of the frequency ratio, between B and C

, or higher than D , the increase in damping causes an increase in acceleration of the sprung

mass;

in the range of low frequencies, the optimal curve is the one that gives the minimum value of

acceleration in correspondence with the first resonance. Since the curve must pass through point

B , the optimal curve is the one that has its maximum at B. It can be shown that this curve is

obtained with a value of the damping ratio equal to about = 0.35. This value of also makes the

acceleration approximately minimal in the range C D ;

in the intermediate field of the frequency ratio AB and for values beyond point D , for comfort

purposes it would be appropriate to adopt lower damping values, but that would mean an

increase in the maximum values of accelerations under resonance conditions;

the acceleration to which the unsprung mass is subjected is not significantly influenced by the

value of the damping ratio.

Fig. 5-54 Sprung mass acceleration for various values of the unsprung mass versus the frequency

ratio.

Figure 5-54 shows the influence of the unsprung mass on the amplitude of acceleration of the

sprung mass. Dividing the unsprung mass in half ( m = 7.5 kg), the acceleration of the suspended mass

diminishes at low frequencies, but increases at high ones. Alternatively, in doubling the unsprung

mass ( m = 30 kg), there is a net acceleration decrease at high frequencies and an increase at the low

ones.

Now let us analyze the fluctuations of the loads on the wheels. As mentioned earlier, the load is

composed of a constant term to which a fluctuating harmonic component, with frequency equal to that

of the imposed motion, is added. Its amplitude normalized with respect to the static load is given by:

It is clear that the fluctuating component works against road-holding. Furthermore, if the

fluctuating term exceeds the static load, the tire will lose contact with the road plane.

In Fig. 5-55, the fluctuating component is plotted against the frequency ratio. The fluctuating

component is normalized in relation to the static load and divided by the amplitude of the sinusoidal

profile of the road. It can be observed that the value of the damping ratio equal to 0.3 ensures good

grip at low frequencies; at high frequencies, it would be appropriate to have a greater value of

which, however, could reduce riding comfort and adherence in the B - C field of the low frequencies.

The loss of adherence happens when Na is equal to one. For example, at a frequency of 5 Hz and

with a damping ratio =0.1 separation occurs for values of the profile height greater than yo =1/142

m.

The reduction of the unsprung masses benefits road-holding especially at low frequencies;

moreover the value of the second frequency of the mono-suspension increases as the value of the

unsprung mass decreases as shown in Fig. 5-56.

Fig. 5-55 Amplitude of the fluctuating part of the vertical load on the wheel for various values of

the damping ratio.

Fig. 5-56 Amplitude of the fluctuating part of the vertical load on the wheel for various values of

the unsprung mass.

The scooter can be regarded as a special case of the motorcycle in which the engine is an integral

part of the swing-arm. This construction solution facilitates the transmission of motion from the

engine to the rear wheel, but interferes with its dynamic behavior in the vertical plane for the

following reasons:

the unsprung rear mass of the vehicle (mass of the wheel and part of the mass of the engine),

with respect to the sprung mass (chassis + rider) has a significantly higher value than that of a

conventional motorcycle;

the unbalanced alternating forces (the engines of scooters are not usually provided with

equilibrating countershafts) generated by the engine are transmitted to the chassis and are the

cause of unwanted vibrations, which are felt by the rider in the handlebars, saddle and footrest.

5.12.1 Cons i de rati ons on the pos i ti on of the attachm e nt poi nt of the

e ngi ne

Consider a scooter with the engine connected directly to the chassis with a pivot, as shown in Fig.

5-57.

We set a goal of seeking the best position for the attachment point P of the engine with the chassis,

in order to minimize the forces transmitted to the chassis, generated by road unevenness. For this

purpose, we substitute the engine with an equivalent system from a dynamic point of view,

composed of a moment of inertia and two masses placed in correspondence:

to the intersection point O of the horizontal line passing through the center of gravity with the

vertical line passing through the wheel contact point;

to the point P where the engine is attached to the chassis, whose position is unknown. The

reduced masses at the points O and P and the moment of inertia are:

where: IG represents the moment of inertia around the center of gravity; m indicates the mass of the

engine; a,b are the distances indicated in Fig. 5-57.

The moment of inertia Io is zero when the distance b satisfies the equation:

The distance between the two points O and P is therefore equal to:

In this case the point O is the center of percussion in relation to point P . The vertical forces acting

on O do not generate reaction forces at P.

It is interesting to note that the engine suspended at the percussion point presents interesting behavior

from the dynamic point of view.

The swinging arm-engine system, attached at P and elastically supported at the point O , constitutes

a vibrating system with one degree of freedom. Given kr , which is the reduced vertical suspension

stiffness at the point O, the natural frequency of the system is:

If the distance c is varied with a constant, the natural frequency changes. It can be shown that it

reaches its maximum value when the distance c satisfies the necessary condition for making the point

O the center of percussion with respect to the point of attachment of the engine P .

The frequency in this case is:

At the maximum value of the frequency with the same reduced stiffness, the equivalent unsprung mass

corresponds to that of the minimum frequency; thus providing benefits for both riding comfort and

road-holding.

The direct attachment of the engine to the chassis has some disadvantages for the isolation of

vibrations. In fact, the engine generates alternating forces of imbalance, with frequency equal to and

double that of the engines rotation, which vary in the 50 to 400 Hz range. The unbalancing forces are

transmitted to the chassis through the attachment point of the engine and also through the springshock absorber group. These forces generate vibrations that are felt by the rider on the handlebars,

footrest and saddle. To reduce the vibrations transmitted to the chassis through the mounts, the

junction with the chassis can be accomplished elastically with a system consisting of a simple rocker

arm or a rocker arm with a link rod.

fre e dom )

The engine connected to the chassis (assumed locked), with a simple rocker arm constitutes a

system with two degrees of freedom, as shown in Fig. 5-59.

The two vibration modes of the system have their centers of rotation aligned along the axis of the

rocker arm. Their position depends on the inertial characteristics of the engine, the tire radial

stiffness, the spring stiffness and the mount stiffness of the rocker arm.

For the purposes of operating as a suspension, point , where the rocker arm is attached, should be

the center of percussion with respect to the point O, so that the vertical forces generated by the

irregularities in the road do not stress the mounts of the rocker arm, but are opposed by the springshock absorber group.

Since the shock absorber behaves at high frequencies almost like a strut, the engine with the springshock absorber group and with the rocker arm makes up a four-bar linkage. The center of rotation of

the engine in relation to the chassis can easily be found. It is the intersection point of the axes of the

rocker arm and the shock absorber.

The largest component of the unbalancing force should be normal to the axis of the rocker arm.

The component of the unbalancing force parallel to the axis, however, is completely transmitted to

the chassis and this is the disadvantage of such a suspension. For this reason, the rocker arm is joined

elastically to the chassis by an elastomer plug, to reduce the transmission of vibrations.

If the balancing of the engine is accomplished in such a way as to have a normal component equal

to 100% of the alternate unbalancing force, this type of suspension assures an excellent isolation of

the vibrations. Such a distribution of the alternate force can generate excessively high loads on the

drive shaft bearings.

Fig. 5-60 Centers of instantaneous rotation of the scooter with a rocker arm.

From a theoretical point of view, for an optimal dynamic performance, this suspension

arrangement should have the following properties:

the distribution of the unbalancing force equal to: 100% normal component in relation to the

rocker arm and 0% in the tangential direction;

the point of attachment P of the engine coinciding with the center of percussion with respect to O

;

the center of rotation in correspondence with the contact point;

the center of rotation of one vibration mode in correspondence with point P (mode excited by

road irregularity);

the center of the second vibration mode in correspondence with the contact point (mode excited

by unbalanced force).

de gre e s of fre e dom )

The swinging arm-engine assembly attached to the chassis with a rocker arm and with a link rod,

represented in Fig. 5-61, has three degrees of freedom and therefore three modes of vibration. The

introduction of an additional degree of freedom responds to the need to isolate both components of

the alternate unbalancing force.

Fig. 5-61 Suspension of the scooter with rocker arm and link rod.

The position of the rotation centers of the three vibrating modes depends on the inertial

characteristics of the engine, the stiffness characteristics of the mounts, the tire and the suspension

spring.

The engine behavior can be studied by substituting the system, made up of the rocker arm, link rod

and the relative elastic plugs, with an appropriate stiffness matrix as shown in Fig. 5-61. This matrix

is generally not diagonal: a force applied to the swinging arm-engine system along the x direction

brings on a displacement along the y direction and vice versa.

In principle, the location of the centers of rotation of the three modes is set up in the ideal diagram,

illustrated in Fig. 5-62.

Fig. 5-62 Suspension of the scooter with rocker arm and link rod.

The motorcycles in-plane response, excited by an uneven road, is important for human perception

(rider comfort) and also for tire adherence with the road. Such excitation is random and is described

by the road profiles statistical properties.

Consider a motorcycle with a forward velocity equal to 20 m/s. For long undulations exceeding 40

m the equilibrium of the motorcycle may be considered with a static analysis. In fact the frequency of

the excitations (less than 0.5 Hz) are low enough in relation to the pitch and bounce frequencies to

consider the motorcycle a quasi-static system. The excitation frequency range 0.5-25 Hz may be

defined as the ride range. In this range the dynamic response depends primarily on the suspension.

With a forward velocity of 20 m/s this frequency range corresponds to wavelengths from 40 m to 0.8

m. The excitations above 25 Hz are in the noise field.

To evaluate the rider s index of comfort it is important to concentrate on accelerations rather than

displacements: in fact the human body is especially sensitive to the RMS value of accelerations.

Discomfort is felt more in a range of frequencies that lie between 4 Hz and 8 Hz as shown in Fig. 564. This figure shows the lines of maximum tolerable levels for different durations of the vibration

exposure established by the ISO 2631 Standards [Mechanical vibration and shock, Evaluation of

human exposure to whole-body vibration, International Organization for Standardization, 1997].

Of course acceleration limits are related to the time of exposure: high accelerations are tolerated for

a shorter time while low accelerations are tolerated for a longer time.

The elevation profile measured over a length of road can be decomposed into a series of sine

waves varying in amplitude and phase relationship by means of the Power Spectral Density function.

This function represents the amplitude density versus path frequency. Path frequency is the inverse of

the wavelength and is expressed in cycles/m and thus the PSD function of the road elevation profile is

expressed in s.

From experimental measurements of the road profile some laws regarding the PSD function have

been proposed.

According to ISO standard [ISO 2631, ISO 5349, ISO, Draft Standard ISO/TC 108/WG9] the power

spectral density of a road profile is described by the following equation:

where:

n1 = 2, n2 = 1.5 are exponents;

PSD0 is the roughness magnitude parameter that depends on the quality of the road

(m2/(cycle/m));

=1/ Lw = /V is the path frequency (cycle/m);

0 is the cutoff path frequency (cycle/m).

PSD0 values lie between 4*106 and 1024 * 106 (m2/(cycle/m)). Some examples of PSD functions are

plotted as a function of path frequency in Fig. 5-65.

Fig. 5-65 Power spectral density of some road [ISO, Draft Standard ISO/TC 108/WG9].

The in-plane front and rear transfer function of the motorcycle is the ratio between the bounce or

pitch acceleration amplitude of the motorcycle center of mass and the displacement of the contact

point of the wheels versus frequency.

Figure 5.66 shows an example of transfer functions. It can be seen that the bounce resonance is

more visible in relation to the pitch resonance, which is more damped. Also the wheel hop resonances

are clearly visible; it should be highlighted that the radial damping of the tires are negligible in

relation to the damping of the shock absorbers.

Once the power spectral density of the road profile is known it is possible to calculate the sprung

mass acceleration spectrum by multiplying the road spectrum by the square of the motorcycle

transfer function. The power spectral density is simply:

where:

PSDsprung mass is the PSD of the acceleration of the sprung mass;

PSDroad is the PSD of the road input;

|H()|sprung mass is the magnitude of the in-plane complex transfer function of the

motorcycle.

The isolation properties of the suspension generate an acceleration spectrum of the sprung mass

with high amplitudes at the sprung mass resonances, with a moderate attenuation in the range of the

wheels resonances and a rapid attenuation thereafter.

The motorcycle responses to the road excitation with two different forward velocities are

represented in Fig. 5-67 for an average road profile. In this case the bounce and pitch modes of

vibration are coupled. The bounce response is more pronounced at low frequencies while the pitch

acceleration of the sprung mass is more pronounced at middle frequencies. The figures also highlight

Wheelbase filtering is closely related to the ratio p/V between the vehicle wheelbase and forward

velocity. In fact the rear wheel sees the same road profile as the front wheel, only with a time delay

which is equal to the ratio between the wheelbase and the forward velocity. Wheelbase filtering causes

characteristic lobes (in between the dips) in these plots: when the speed increases (as the ratio p/V

decreases) the number of lobes diminishes and only the peak characteristics of the system response to

the road surface PSD remain in the plots. The first frequency of the minimum bounce acceleration

response is equal to the velocity divided by twice the wheelbase while the pitch acceleration presents

the first minimum when the ratio between the velocity and the wheelbase is equal to one. The coupling

of the bounce and pitch mode makes the filtering phenomenon less clear. The motorcycle has a 1.5 m

wheelbase, with a speed of 20 m/s null response (dip) occurs at approximately 6.5 Hz for the bounce

and 11 Hz for the pitch.

The suspensions are also important for tire adherence, which diminishes with the increase of the

vertical load fluctuations. The PSD of the vertical loads induced on the wheel are shown in Fig. 5-68.

At low speeds the front wheel is subjected to higher load variations compared with the rear wheel,

while as the speed increases the rear wheel load fluctuations become more important and are

distributed over a large frequency range.

The load fluctuation rises with the increase of the unsprung mass in relation to the sprung mass and

with the increase of the tires radial stiffness.

In the previous chapters, the forces acting on the motorcycle were calculated: resistance forces,

driving force and dynamic loads on the wheels, in different conditions of both stationary and nonstationary motion, in acceleration and in braking. In this chapter, variations in the trim exhibited by

the motorcycle under various driving conditions will be studied, and the importance of the chain

force will be highlighted.

The term vehicle trim implies the geometric configuration that the motorcycle acquires in different

conditions during transient and steady motion, in acceleration and in braking.

As shown below, the motorcycle trim depends on the stiffness characteristics of the front and rear

suspensions, on the forces operating on the motorcycle, and on the inclination angle of the chain and

the swinging arm.

Figure 6-1 illustrates the system of forces operating on the motorcycle in steady state conditions. In

this case, the study of the trim is specifically designed to determine the attitude and configuration of

the motorcycle, and in particular, that of the rear suspension.

Now let us consider the rear swinging arm with its wheel represented in Fig. 6-2, assuming the

forward motion of the vehicle to be at constant speed. The following forces are applied to the rear

swinging arm and wheel system:

the thrust force S ;

the vertical dynamic load Nr;

the chain force T ;

the elastic torque M .

The balance of the moments on the swinging arm pivot gives the following expression:

The equilibrium equation does not report the static elastic moment Ms exerted by the suspension

spring and the moment generated by the static vertical load Nsr which is equal to Ms.

The four moments acting on the swinging arm are:

the moment generated by the load transfer Ntr that compresses the suspension;

the moment generated by the driving force S that tends to extend the suspension;

the moment generated by the chain force T that compresses the suspension.

the additional elastic moment generated by the suspension movement Mv that can be positive or

negative.

The driving force is assumed to be constant and is related to the chain force, exerted by the chain

on the wheel, through the equation:

If there is no thrust, the chain force and the load transfer are null, so the moment exerted the static

load balances the elastic moment:

Conversely, if there is a thrust force, the trim of the rear suspension (arm position with respect to the

frame), depends on the values of the three aforementioned components. Expressing the driving force

as a function of the chain force, the equilibrium equation, with respect to the swinging arm pivot, can

be rearranged as follows:

where Mv is the part of the elastic moment, necessary to balance the moments generated by the load

transfer, chain force and driving force.

If the term due to the load transfer is larger than that due to the chain force and driving force, the

suspension is further compressed, with respect to the deflection caused by only the static load (Mv >0

). Vice versa, if the component due to the chain force and driving force prevails over the load transfer

component, then the suspension is extended (Mv < 0 ).

It is interesting to note that the chain force disappears for both the shaft-drive transmission, as

shown in Fig. 6-3, and in the case of scooters (with engine integrated on the swinging arm).

Therefore, only the load transfer force and the thrust force exert a moment on the swinging arm.

In this case, the balance of the moments results in:

Mv = NtrLcos S(Rr + Lsin)

In order to study the balance of the moments, it is necessary to express the inclination angle of

chain , as a function of the angular inclination of the swinging arm.

Fig. 6-4 Geometry of the rear swinging arm with chain transmission.

With reference to Fig. 6-4, we may write the following equation:

b (rc rp)cos = Lc sin

where rp and rc represent the radii of the drive sprocket and the rear sprocket, b represents the vertical

distance between the axes of the sprockets, Lc is the length of the straight line section of the chain. The

equation gives the inclination angle as a function of the swinging arm angle.

For practical purposes, the following approximate expression (assuming cos 1 ) is sufficient:

Chain transmission

Consider the intersection point A , between the axis of the upper chain branch and the straight line

passing through the center of the wheel and through the swinging arm pivot, shown in Fig. 6-5. The

straight line that connects the point of contact between the rear wheel Pr and point A is called the squat

line. Its inclination to the horizontal plane is called the squat angle .

The resultant Fr , from the sum of the load transfer force and the driving force, applied to the point

of contact of the rear wheel, is inclined with respect to horizontal by an angle named the angle of load

transfer . The line of action of the resultant Fr is called the straight line of the load transfer.

We define the squat ratio as the ratio between the moment generated by the load transfer and the

moment generated by the sum of the chain force and the driving force:

Expressing the load transfer as a function of the driving force, the ratio is a function of only the

geometric characteristics, and in particular, it is equal to the ratio between the tangent of the load

transfer angle and the tangent of the squat angle:

The ratio varies according to the variation of the swinging arm inclination angle and depends on the

difference between the arm inclination angle and the chain inclination angle. Such a difference is

sensitive to the position of the axis of the drive sprocket in relation to the position of the swinging

arm pivot.

Three cases can occur:

Point A lies on the straight line of the load transfer, that is = ; in this case = 1. During the

thrust phase there are no additional moments operating on the swinging arm, so the suspension

spring is no longer stressed compared with the static condition;

Point A lies under the straight line of the load transfer, that is < ; in this case > 1: the

moment generated by the resultant Fr causes a compression of the spring in addition to the one

created by the static load;

Point A lies above the straight line of the load transfer, that is > ; in this case < 1. The

moment generated by the resultant Fr causes the extension of the spring.

In the case of final transmission shaft and also in scooters, the squat ratio is:

The ratio can be expressed as a function of the geometric characteristics of the suspension and also

as a ratio between the tangent of the load transfer angle and the tangent of the squat angle. In this case

the squat line passes through the point of contact and the swinging arm pivot as can be seen in Fig. 66:

In general the load transfer angle with the transmission shaft, is smaller than the angle , thus the

ratio is less than one, i.e., the suspension is always extended in the thrust phase. In order to obtain

ratios close to unitary values swinging arms of great length should be used.

As shown in Fig. 6-7, in this case the ratio can be expressed as a function of both the load

transfer angle and the squat angle. In this case the squat line is the straight line passing through the

center of rotation with respect to the frame (point A) of the suspension connecting links and the point

of contact of the rear wheel.

Example 1

We will now make some remarks regarding a motorcycle with the following properties:

motorcycle wheelbase:

p = 1370 mm;

h = 600 mm;

L = 590 mm;

Rr = 317 mm;

rc = 111.3 mm;

rp = 43.2 mm;

sprocket vertical position compared with swinging arm pivot:

yP = 0 mm.

Let us examine the motion of the swinging arm in relation to the frame (assumed to be fixed).

Figure 6-8 depicts the deviation of squat ratio versus the variation of the vertical position yc of the

rear axle with respect to the frame. It is worth pointing out that in this example the load transfer tends

to compress the suspension spring, whereas the chain force and the driving force tend to extend it.

It is possible to observe that in the reference case, for those values regarding the wheel vertical

positions that are lower than approximately -65 mm, the effect of the chain force and thrust prevails

as the value of the squat ratio is less than one ( < l), whereas for the higher yc values, the effect of

the load transfer force prevails since the value of the ratio is greater than one ( > 1).

The figure also illustrates a comparison among the values of the ratio , obtainable when only one

single geometric parameter varies at a time: it is interesting to observe that as the geometry varies

(radii of the drive sprocket and of the rear sprocket, position of the drive sprocket axis with respect to

the swinging arm pivot) the values also vary, however, the curves still maintain an increasing

deviation as the vertical position of the rear wheel axle varies.

Let us now continue with a few observations on the trim of the vehicle in motion at a constant speed

and in the presence of a thrust (balanced by the aerodynamic resistant force).

With the increase of the chain force and, thus, of the driving force, the front axle lifts up because of

the front wheel load decrease, while the back of the rear frame lifts up or lowers as a function of the

squat ratio.

The vertical extension of the front suspension is equal to the ratio between the load transfer and the

reduced vertical stiffness:

As can be seen in Fig. 6-9, in the case of a unitary ratio ( = 1), as the chain force varies the force

operating on the rear suspension spring does not undergo any variation as the action of the load

transfer is perfectly balanced by the chain force. Under these specific conditions variations in the

If the ratio is greater than one ( > 1), the rear suspension spring will be compressed compared to

the condition of balance with a null chain force. With the increase of the chain force value, the front

axle lifts up while the back of the rear frame lowers proportional to the value of the ratio.

Furthermore, if the ratio increases with the increasing yc (such as the case in example 1), with the

increase of the chain force and, therefore, of the driving force, the movement becomes more

appreciable as represented in Fig. 6-10.

If the ratio is less than one ( < 1) the rear suspension spring will be extended compared with the

condition of balance with a null chain force. With the increase of the chain force, both the front axle

and the rear axle are extended, causing the motorcycle center of gravity to raise, also illustrated in

Fig. 6-11.

The deformation of the spring Lr, reduced to the rear wheel axle (which becomes negative during

compression), is provided by the following (approximate) expression:

The previous observations allow us to conclude that the trim of the vehicle depends on the value of

the squat ratio.

The variation in the trim, caused by the driving force, can also be expressed by the variation of the

frame pitch angle:

Fig. 6-10 Motorcycle trim with squat ratio greater than one.

Fig. 6-11 Motorcycle trim with squat ratio less than one.

Example 2

Consider a motorcycle with the following characteristics:

motorcycle wheelbase:

p = 1370 mm;

h = 600 mm;

kr = 20 kN/m;

The aim is to determine the variations in the motorcycle trim after applying a chain force T equal

to 4000 N, as the squat ratio value varies:

= 0.7;

= 1.0;

= 1.3.

The load transfer is equal to 615 and, therefore, the variation of the pitch angle is:

1.42, for a value of the ratio = 0.7;

1.98, for a value of the ratio = 1.0;

2.27, for a value of the ratio = 1.3.

We can see that, as the squat ratio increases, the variation in the trim also increases. This is

represented by the variation of the frame pitch angle. It is worth pointing out that the positive

direction of the pitch is counter-clockwise.

As represented in Fig. 6-12, the motorcycle that runs at a constant speed from a straight line to a

cornering motion lowers and also slightly pitches forward.

The lowering is caused by the increase in load that acts in the motorcycle plane that increases in

inverse proportion to the cosine of the roll angle . The pitch forward is due to the fact that the

reduced stiffness of the front suspension is less than that of the rear suspension.

The lowering of the center of gravity h , and the variation of the pitch angle , in the change

from a straight line to a curve, is provided by the expressions (Fig. 6-13):

and it is possible to note that, if b kr > (p b)k f , the pitch angle will be negative, and, thus, forward.

The squat ratio, in the change from a straight line to a curve, decreases because of the lowering of

the center of gravity:

Actually, in the change from straight running to cornering, the ratio decreases less than the chain

force angle because point A is also lowered.

In order to evaluate the variations of a motorcycle trim in the change from a straight line to a curve

we should consider the example shown below.

Example 3

Consider a motorcycle with the following characteristics:

motorcycle mass:

m = 200 kg;

wheelbase:

p =1.4 m;

reduced stiffness of the rear suspension:

kr = 25 kN/m;

kf = 13 kN/m;

tire stiffness:

roll angle:

= 45.

Case 1: Straight line motion.

The lowering of the vehicle center of gravity, due to its weight, and in the hypothesis of no spring

preload, is equal to 60 mm (lowering of 52 mm with respect to the rear wheel and 70 mm to the front

wheel), while the clockwise pitch rotation is equal to - 0.73. Obviously if the springs are preloaded

the lowering will be less. For example if the rear suspension is preloaded at 28 mm the lowering of

the rear frame should be 24 mm instead of 52 mm.

Case 2: Change from straight line motion to cornering motion.

In the change from a straight line to a curve the load on the wheels increases gradually according

to the increase in the motorcycle angle of inclination. At a roll angle that is equal to 45 the

lowering h of the gravity center, caused by the increase of the wheel load, is equal to 24 mm.

The vehicle front frame lowers to a greater extent compared with the rear frame (29 and 22 mm

respectively) because the front suspension spring is softer than the rear one, and the resulting forward

pitch rotation is equal to an additional -0.3.

The above example suggests some interesting considerations regarding the motorcycle pitch

motion, in the change from a straight line to a curve:

the motorcycle pitch is further increased in the braking phase while entering the curve,

the forward pitch rotation causes a decrease in the front trail, which potentially helps entering a

curve. In fact, the lateral force moment that tends to align the front frame decreases.

If a thrust force is applied in a curve, and in the exiting phase, another variation of the trim appears

due to several factors that come into play:

the load transfer from the front wheel to the rear one, due to the thrust, determines a decrease of

the load operating on the front wheel and hence, causes a positive rearward pitch rotation;

the change from the cornering motion to the straight line motion determines a decrease in the

load operating on the wheels and, therefore, the motorcycle, with the typical values ofsuspension

stiffness, undergoes a positive counter-clockwise pitch rotation.

Let us now illustrate, with an example, another event related to the squat ratio.

Example 4

Consider the motorcycle from the previous example.

In the curve balance configuration, the lowering of the gravity center is equal to h =24 mm.

Lets now take a look at the effects of applying the thrust force. Fig. 6-15 depicts the deviation of

the squat ratio, both in a straight line and in a curve (angle of roll = 45) versus variation in the

vertical position of the wheel compared with the frame.

It is possible to observe that in the balance positions, both in a straight running and in a curve, the

squat ratio will be different.

Applying a thrust in a curve causes a variation in the trim, in the same way noted for the straight

line:

with = 1 the rear suspension does not change trim;

with 1 the rear suspension is extended;

with > 1 the rear suspension is compressed. In this example, the squat ratio in the change from

a curve to a straight line decreases from 1.02 to 0.95. This decrease, therefore, causes the rear

suspension spring to extend.

Let us now examine the parameters that can be modified in order to limit the variations of the

motorcycle trim in the thrust phase:

the variation of the trim due to the difference in stiffness between the front and rear suspension is

unavoidable because of the lower stiffness of the front suspension;

the variation of the trim caused by the load transfer is also inevitable in the thrust phase;

conversely, since in the thrust phase the trim varies depending on the value of the squat ratio, it is

possible to modify this parameter by changing the suspension geometry.

One of the most important characteristics of motorcycle dynamic behavior in the acceleration

phase, is its, more or less, ease to mount up or wheelie when it is subjected to a high driving force.

Aside from the amount of torque provided by the engine the motorcycle wheelie depends on the

rear suspension characteristics and the transmission system that links the engine to the rear wheel.

Consider three motorcycles with equal inertial and geometric characteristics, subject to the same

driving force, but featuring different rear suspensions and final drive systems:

motorcycle with a classic swinging arm with chain;

motorcycle with a classic swinging arm and transmission shaft;

motorcycle with a four-bar linkage rear suspension and transmission shaft.

If in the initial instant, motorcycles have a constant speed equal to 100 km/h, and suddenly the

engine generates a high torque transmitted to the rear wheel, the wheel accelerates and transfers the

thrust force to the ground by means of longitudinal slip between the wheel and the ground.

First of all, consider three motorcycles with a classic swinging arm rear suspension and with chain

transmission, but with different squat ratio values:

= 1 reference configuration;

= 0.7 obtained by moving the drive sprocket down;

= 1.3 obtained by moving the drive sprocket up.

High ratio values cause a compression of the rear suspension during the thrust phase and thus

reduces the tendency for the vehicle to mount up, as shown in Fig. 6-17. A squat ratio less than one,

while causing the rear suspension to extend, facilitates mount up. The figure demonstrates that, where

= 1 and = 1.3, the front wheel lifts up and returns to the ground after a time interval of 0.8-1

seconds, whereas in the case of the ratio being = 0.7, the vehicle travels with its front wheel

skyward.

Lets now see how motorcycles featuring different rear suspension systems behave. Figure 6-18

shows that the motorcycle with shaft transmission mounts up easily, and in the numerical simulation

represented here, if the applied torque is not controlled it reaches the point where the vehicle

overturns. The ease to mount up is proportional to the swinging arm length. The four-bar linkage

suspension, in the case of shaft transmission, behaves much better. The figure illustrates that the

configuration taken into consideration, that has the center of rotation of the connecting rod

approximately above the front wheel, shows a behavior which is similar to that of the motorcycle

with a classic swinging arm and with a high squat ratio. The BMW Paralever suspension is based

on this kinematic scheme.

Consider a motorcycle in straight line motion, with a constant speed, that suddenly loses its grip on

an oily or icy spot.

In straight running a thrust force, equal and opposite to the resultant of the resistant forces, is

applied to the rear wheel. The loss and the sudden pickup of grip create a violent variation of the

driving force that impulsively excites both the suspension and the rear part of the motorcycle. The

behavior of the motorcycle can be understood by considering this event as being constituted of five

different sequential phases, represented in Fig. 6-19:

steady state with the motorcycle traveling at a constant speed,

sudden slippage of the rear wheel,

rear wheel acceleration due to poor grip,

sudden pickup of grip,

damped transient oscillation.

Steady state with the motorcycle traveling at a constant speed.

The elastic moment Mv depends on the vertical transfer load Ntr , driving force S and chain force T

:

Mv = NtrLcos S(Rr + Lsin) + T[rc Lsin( )]

It is important to remember that if is equal to 1, the moment exerted by the chain force T, the

driving force S and the load transfer Ntr balance themselves out, therefore, the variable component Mv

is equal to zero (the static elastic moment

Ms balances the static load Nsr ). If < 1, the spring is slightly extended, conversely if > 1, it will be

slightly compressed.

Sudden slippage of the driving wheel.

The loss of grip suddenly nullifies the driving force, so that the swinging arm and wheel system

are no longer balanced.

The swinging arm is subject to a sudden angular acceleration in a clockwise direction (negative

value), that is transmitted through the spring and shock absorber assembly and even the frame. The

impulsive, upwards acceleration of the rear part of the motorcycle tends to throw the driver forward.

Rear wheel acceleration due to poor grip.

The rear wheel, subject to the torque generated by the driving force, accelerates and, furthermore,

the motorcycle pitches forward until it nullifies the load transfer. This force, in steady state, is

proportional to the driving force. On the other hand, in transient conditions it occurs with a delay

compared with the driving force, as it is linked to the vehicle pitch. Only in the absence of suspension,

the load transfer is perfectly in phase with the thrust.

In this phase, the rear suspension is extended because of the slow decrease in the load transfer force

and, therefore, the rear frame tends to lift up while the front frame lowers.

Sudden pickup of grip.

The high value of the longitudinal slippage creates a large and sudden driving force, the swinging

arm is subject to a sudden moment that causes an acceleration (which is positive) in a counterclockwise direction (towards extension) that transmits through the spring and shock absorber

Damped transient oscillation.

damped transient oscillation of the frame pitch occurs and after a certain time interval the initial

steady condition is attained.

Figure 6-20 shows the deviation of the driving force and the vertical load on the rear wheel. As we

can see, the load transfer force in the low grip zone slowly decreases and the driving force becomes

very high when the pickup of the grip occurs.

Figure 6-21 illustrates the deviation of the vertical acceleration about the rear axle and the frame

point to which the spring and shock absorber assembly is attached. The upward acceleration peak at

the beginning of the low grip section, and the downward acceleration peak at the grip pickup point are

quite noticeable.

The moment balance for the swinging arm in steady conditions, as represented in Fig. 6-22:

0 = Mv NtrLcos + S(Rr + Lsin) T[rc Lsin( )]

allows us to express a few observations regarding the chain force and the driving force. As we can

see, the elastic moment becomes independent of the chain force and the driving force if the following

the chain angle of inclination is equal to the swinging arm angle of inclination ;

the inclination angle of the swinging arm is equal to the load transfer angle = h / p ;

the load transfer is proportional to the driving force, as it was for the stationary condition Ntr =

Sh/ p = S tan ;

the wheel angular speed is constant in order to have a direct proportionality between the driving

force and the chain force T = SRr / rc.

Fig. 6-22 Geometric configuration of the rear suspension that should ensure, in steady conditions, a

trim independent of the forces applied.

In fact, the motion equation can be simplified in the following way:

Mv = Ntr Lcos SL sin

The variable elastic momentum Mv is null and therefore, as the chain force and then the driving force

vary the swinging arm remains in equlibrium.

Two new architectures have been proposed [Romeva et al., 1993] that meet the conditions necessary

to keep the squat ratio constant and unitary under steady conditions. The functional schemes of the

two solutions, respectively named the Bilever and Tracklever systems, are shown in Fig. 6-23.

Unfortunately, as we have already seen, in transient conditions, the load transfer (function of the

driving force) occurs with a certain delay compared with the driving force and, therefore, these

innovative suspension schemes do not present any advantages over the classic swinging arm

suspension. In fact, Fig. 6-24 shows that even if the = condition is met in the transient event both in

the change from dry to wet ground and vice versa, the driving force, the load transfer and the chain

force moments on the swinging arm are not in equilibrium. This behavior is thus like that of a

traditional swinging arm suspension.

Fig. 6-24 Forces operating on the suspension during slippage and grip pickup.

Another valid solution designed to improve the suspension dynamic behavior in the presence of the

chain force is represented by the introduction of a second sprocket on the swinging arm (ATK

System: Anti Tension Chain System).

In the original version, the chain inclination angle is equal to the angle of the swinging arm. The

second sprocket, integral to the swing itself, is positioned so that the line of action of the reaction

force exerted by the pinion on the swinging arm would pass through the swinging arm pivot without

causing any additional moment.

Let us consider the more general case which presents a constant value between the chain inclination

angle and the swinging arm inclination angle (Fig. 6-25):

=

If the reaction force generated by the second sprocket on the swinging arm does not generate a

moment, due to the fact that the line of action passes through the swinging arm pivot, the equilibrium

between the moments acting on the wheel-swinging arm system in relation to the swinging arm axle,

will be:

the moment caused by the load transfer compresses the suspension;

the driving force compresses the suspension if < 0, or extends it if > 0;

the moment generated by the chain force extends the suspension if > 0, or compresses it if <

0.

In order to obtain values of the chain ratio, very close to the unit, the chain must be more inclined in

relation to the swinging arm, that is: = ( ) > 0.

The curves in Fig. 6-26 show the growing trend of the chain force ratio as the vertical wheel travel yc

becomes higher.

Fig. 6-25 Suspension with a second sprocket attached to the swinging arm.

Fig. 6-26 Chain force ratio varying with the yc displacement for several values of the angle.

The curve shape can be modified by varying the sprocket position in relation to the swinging arm

pivot. To do this, placing the second pinion in various positions on the swinging arm (see Fig. 6-27),

it is possible to take advantage of the reaction force thus generating a moment which will extend or

compress the suspension.

Fig. 6-27 Influence of the sprocket position on the chain force ratio.

The load transfer during the braking action is directly proportional to the total force of the braking

action, to the height of the mass center, and inversely proportional to the wheelbase (see Fig. 6-28):

where F indicates the sum of the front and rear braking action.

The braking action generates a pitching motion in the motorcycle, especially at the beginning,

when the braking force is suddenly applied. During the residual time of the braking action, assumed

to be uniform, the front and rear suspensions take a different trim depending on the type of

suspension.

In the following paragraph the effects of the braking force on the front and rear suspensions are

examined.

6.5.1 T he front s us pe ns i on

During braking the front suspension is subject, in addition to the static vertical load, to two

additional forces:

the front braking force Ff ,

the load transfer Ntr generated by the total braking force F .

These two forces define the load transfer angle of the front wheel f, i.e., the inclination angle of the

line of action of the resulting force acting on the front wheel in relation to the road (Fig. 6-29).

T he te l e s copi c forks

In the case of telescopic forks, the contact point trajectory of the front wheel in relation to the

frame can be presumed to be straight and parallel to the steering axis. During the braking action, the

fork is compressed, due to the load transfer component Ntr and the effect generated by the braking

force component Ff , as shown in Fig. 6-30. The magnitude of the compression depends primarily on

the fork inclination angle =/2 (trajectory angle).

Let us suppose that the braking force applied to the rear wheel is zero. In this case, the normalized

compression force on the fork, expressed by the ratio between the sum of the compressing

components on the suspension and the front braking force, depends only on the steering inclination

angle and on the load transfer angle:

The dive behavior of the suspension is maximum when the load transfer angle f corresponds to the

fork inclination angle .

Figure 6-31 shows that the dive displacement, proportional to the compression force, is at its

maximum when the fork has an inclination angle of about 63. We can observe that under normal

usage, the dive behavior is more pronounced as the inclination angle of the fork becomes higher.

Another typical effect of the telescopic fork is the decrease in the trail as fork compression

increases.

Lets suppose that the wheels have the same radius and that we can ignore the rear suspension

deformation. It is easy to determine a formula, which would indicate the trail variation, as a

consequence of the front suspension compression. The steering inclination angle during braking is,

therefore:

The trail during braking is expressed by the following formula:

Fig. 6-33 shows an example of the variation of trail and steering inclination directly related to the

variation of the front suspension compression.

Fig. 6-33 Trail and caster angle versus the front suspension compression. [ p = 1.4 m, a = 0.116 m,

= 27, Rr = R f = 0.36 m]

If the braking behavior of the front suspension has to be neutral, that is, without any effect from the

braking force, the trajectory described by the contact point should be a vertical line (see Fig. 6-34). In

this case compression of the suspension is caused only by the load transfer.

Vertical axle paths during braking are easily obtained by applying four-bar linkage suspensions

with the wheel attached to the connecting link of the four-bar itself or with a simple leading or

trailing arm.

If the trajectory of the wheel is normal in relation to the force generated by the sum of the load

transfer and the braking force (Fig. 6-34), the front suspension spring will not be stressed during

braking. This functional diagram is also obtained by applying a four-bar linkage suspension, or with

the suspension push-arm.

Suspension systems, which diminish the suspension compression due to the load transfer, are called

anti-dive suspensions.

Four-bar l i nkage s us pe ns i on

The Telelever suspension (see Fig. 6-35), applied as we all know by BMW, is generated by the

four-bar linkage. The mechanism is in fact a spatial mechanism with two degrees of freedom:

the 1st degree of freedom, given by the rotation of the two components connected to the

prismatic couple around the axis that passes through the center of the two spherical couples. It

corresponds to the steering action.

the 2nd degree of freedom, which implies the motion of all the components of the mechanism,

corresponds to the front suspension movement.

From a kinematic point of view, the behavior shown in this diagram is quite different from that of a

traditional suspension with telescopic fork. One of the advantages of this scheme is that it allows a

certain degree of anti-dive suspension.

Fig. 6-36 Variance of wheelbase, trail and inclination angle versus the suspension movement.

The diagrams of Fig. 6-36 show the variance of the wheelbase, the trail and the steering head angle,

for two motorcycles, geometrically similar in static equilibrium though equipped with different front

suspensions. For the two suspensions we can observe a different, almost opposite behavior: with the

traditional suspension the increase of the suspension compression causes a decrease in the wheelbase,

the trail and the caster angle, whereas with the Telelever suspension, the wheelbase stays almost

constant and the other two parameters augment.

Pus h-arm s us pe ns i on

If the pivot trajectory of the front wheel is circular (as for example with the Earles fork) the load

transfer compresses the suspension, while the braking force extends it, as shown in Fig. 6-37.

If we apply only the front brake (Fr = 0), the equation of the moments around the rotation center

changes to:

characteristics, and in particular depending on the distances c and b . If the moment is positive, the

suspension is compressed. If the moment is negative, the suspension is extended.

If the brake caliper is not a part of the arm, but connected to the frame with a rod, the previous

formula is still true. In this case the values c and b will represent the distances measured along the x

and y axes between the wheel axle and the intersection point of the straight lines (see Fig. 6-37).

6.5.2 T he re ar s us pe ns i on

Let us consider the rear suspension and suppose that the chain does not transfer any force (during

braking the lower section of the chain is slack).

The direction of the sum of the rear braking force Fr , with the load transfer Ntr , may be more or

less inclined in relation to the straight line which connects the contact point with the swinging arm

pivot, depending on the values of the two corresponding forces.

The angle of the load transfer during rear braking r corresponds to the inclination of the straight

line of the force acting on the rear wheel in relation to the road plane (see Fig. 6-38).

If the load transfer Ntr is high, due to the braking action of both the front and rear brakes (Ff 0)

and if the rear braking force Fr is low, the resulting force will generate a moment that will tend to

extend the rear suspension (Fig. 6-38a). In this case, the load transfer angle is larger than the angle.

This angle is formed by the straight line which connects the contact point with the swinging arm pivot

and the x axis.

On the contrary, if we apply only the rear brake, and therefore the rear braking force Fr has a high

value, the angle could be larger than the load transfer angle. In this case, the rear suspension will be

compressed (Fig. 6-38b).

In the above diagram, we have supposed that the brake caliper is connected to the swinging arm.

This means that the forces exchanged by the braking elements will react within the rear swinging

arm-wheel assembly.

The braking angle will change if the support of the brake caliper is free to rotate around the wheel

axle and is fixed to the frame by means of a rod. The swinging arm, the connecting rod, the support

and the frame form a four-bar linkage. The intersecting point of the swinging arm axis and the rod

corresponds to the instantaneous center of rotation of the connecting rod in relation to the frame. The

wheel-swinging arm equilibrium, in relation to this point, shows that the suspension is compressed or

extended depending on its position, as shown in Fig. 6-39.

As everyone knows, the front and/or rear end of a motorcycle in motion can start to oscillate

around the steering axis, even if the wheels are well balanced. This phenomenon is easy to observe

experimentally, for example by gradually slowing down the motorcycle from a fairly high speed.

Oscillations can be observed at certain speeds especially if the front wheel is out of balance. They

reach their maximum amplitude and then decrease as speed decreases until they disappear completely.

Rear-end oscillations can be observed when traveling over a transverse bump or by exciting the rear

frame with an impulsive movement of the rider s trunk. At a low speed it can also be easily observed

that the motorcycle tends to fall over sideways, regardless of what the rider does. These experimental

observations of motorcycle dynamics show that there are three major modes:

capsize, a non-oscillating mode used and controlled by the rider;

weave, an oscillation of the entire motorcycle, but mainly the rear end;

wobble, an oscillation of the front end around the steering axis which does not involve the rear

end in any significant way.

The rider s control task can be considered to involve either fixed control or free control, i.e. with

or without their hands grasping the handlebar, respectively. With the steering rotation fixed the

motorcycle-rider system is unstable in roll at all speeds, like a capsizing ship, whereas in the

unconstrained condition the steering system is free to steer itself, potentially relieving the rider of the

need to apply steering control action for stabilization. A viable motorcycle needs to self-steer

effectively, thus contributing to automatic stabilization, without becoming too oscillatory under

At very low speeds a motorcycle is unstable because of capsize, two non-oscillating modes

involving respectively roll and steer motion of the vehicle. Around 1 m/s these real poles meet,

coalesce and become the complex pole pair associated with the weave vibration mode. Weave mode is

usually unstable up to 7-8 m/s. Over this speed motorcycles usually enter into a stable zone, such that

the rider may remove his hands from the handlebar without falling. As speed increases, the weave,

wobble, or capsize modes may become unstable, depending on the motorcycle characteristics, and the

rider has to counteract these modes with a torque applied at the handlebar. Weave mode is usually

poorly damped or unstable at high speeds, whereas wobble is poorly damped or unstable in the midrange of speeds. Capsize instability at mid to high speeds is typically not very significant.

In this chapter, we will first study these modes using simplified models and later the in-plane and

out-of-plane modes will be studied by means of an eleven degree of freedom model. Finally, the

effect of frame compliance and rider mobility on motorcycle stability will be presented.

7.1 Si m pl i fi e d m ode l

7.1.1 Caps i ze

This mode is deeply influenced by rider action on the handlebar, i.e. by the mechanical impedance

(inertia, stiffness, damping) which the rider provides. Therefore the mode easily shifts from the

unstable zone to the stable zone.

Capsize is a mode actually used by the rider to roll the motorcycle. This rolling action is achieved

through the rider s effort to hold or move the steering head rotation to some non-equilibrium

position (fixed-control). As mentioned, this mode is always unstable, since in essence motorcycle

exists as an inverted pendulum. This mode is also present in free-control condition (i.e. without the

rider s hands on the handlebar) as highlighted by eigenvalue analysis. In the latter case the mode is

usually somewhat stable at low speeds because of the steering modal component of its eigenvector;

whereas at higher speeds it may become slightly unstable.

The capsize mode consists mainly of a roll motion combined with a lateral displacement plus some

less important steering and yaw movements (Fig. 7.1). It depends on a number of factors:

speed of the motorcycle;

wheel inertia (gyroscopic effect);

position of the center of gravity;

motorcycle mass;

motorcycle roll inertia;

caster angle;

mechanical trail;

properties of the tires, primarily cross sectional size of the tires, twisting torque and pneumatic

trail of the front tire.

To highlight the influence of some geometrical and inertial properties of the motorcycle on the

capsize mode it is useful to analyze the fall motion of a motorcycle with the steering head locked.

In this hypothetical case, within the limits of linear approximation, capsize can be expressed as an

exponential law:

Basically the time constant is a measure of how easily the motorcycle will lean over. For example,

racing motorcycles need a small time constant so they can corner and change trajectory quickly.

Touring motorcycles need to roll more slowly, making them easier for the rider to control.

Capsize instability should not be viewed as a drawback, however, since it is precisely this

phenomenon that, given proper control action, enables the motorcycle to lean into and execute curves

correctly. The smaller the time constant (i.e., the greater the capsize instability), the less lead time is

needed to start leaning the motorcycle into a curve.

The simplified models, with the steering head locked and negligible gyroscopic effects, yield

smaller time constant values than the ones which can be obtained by studying the complete model of

the motorcycle. The simplified models clearly show how geometric and inertial properties affect the

Mathematical modeling of motorcycle capsize is complicated by the presence of the steering head,

gyroscopic effects, and tire contact forces arising from the slip and camber angles. Here we will

concentrate on a very simple model to understand a specific aspect of capsize, the falling time.

This simplified model makes the following assumptions:

the motorcycle is moving in direction x at speed V ;

the thickness of the cross section of the tires is null;

there is no slippage between the tires and the road;

the steering head is locked in place;

gyroscopic effects are negligible.

Based on these assumptions, capsize is a simple rotation of the motorcycle around the axis defined

by the points in which the tires come into contact with the roadway (Fig. 7-2).

The equilibrium of moments with respect to the contact point gives the following equation:

= oest

yields the following frequency equation:

The time constant of interest is given by the inverse of the positive real eigenvalue:

Note that the time constant is determined by the height of the center of gravity, the mass of the

motorcycle, and the motorcycles moment of inertia about the x-axis through its center of mass.

Using the radius of gyration (IxG = m2 ) to express the motorcycles moment of inertia, the time

constant takes on the following form:

Now let us assume that the height of the center of gravity and the mass of the motorcycle are

constant, but that the mass can be distributed differently to vary the moment of inertia , i.e. the

radius of gyration .

Fig. 7-3 Normalized time constant for capsize as a function of the ratio of gyration radius to center

of gravity height.

Fig. 7-4 Time constant for capsize as a function of radius of gyration and height of center of

gravity.

The value of the time constant increases as the radius of gyration increases (mass located

further away from the center of gravity). Figure 7-3 shows the normalized time constant curve with

respect to the minimum value for the ideal case of all the mass being concentrated at the center of

gravity

Figure 7-4 is a contour plot that shows how the time constant varies as a function of the height of

the center of gravity and the radius of gyration.

Note that, for a given radius of gyration value, the time constant decreases as the height of the

center of gravity increases until it reaches a minimum value, and then increases. This means that once

the radius of gyration is set, the time constant is at its lowest value when the height of the center of

gravity is equal to the radius of gyration, as can readily be shown analytically.

Example 1

Based on the following data, determine the capsize time constant.

total mass of motorcycle: m = 248 kg

height of mass center:

h = 0.648 m

(radius of gyration = 0.284 meters)

The resulting time constant is: = 0.281 s. In the ideal case of all the mass being concentrated at the

center of gravity (

) the time constant decreases to 0.257 s.

second simplified model can be built from the first, by removing the assumption that the wheels

are thin disks, and instead assuming a motorcycle with circular tire cross sections which do not slip

laterally on the roadway during capsize (Fig. 7-5) . Once again, the system has only one degree of

freedom.

The resulting equations are as follows:

where the third equation is the equilibrium of moments with respect to the mass center.

Under pure forward rolling conditions the system still has just one degree of freedom, and

therefore y, yG and zG can be expressed as a function of :

y = t

yG = t + ho sin

zG = tho cos

Simple mathematical substitution yields the following frequency equation:

[IxG + m(ho + t)2]s2 mgho = 0]

The resulting time constant is given by:

This equation shows that the time constant increases with the radius of the tire cross section.

Therefore, entering a curve, a motorcycle with large tires takes longer to lean than one with small

tires.

Fig. 7-6 Capsize time constant as a function of the ratio between the tire cross section radius and

the height of center of gravity.

Figure 7-6 shows the ratio between the time constant for a motorcycle with tires of non-zero

thickness and the time constant for the same motorcycle with thin disk tires as a function of the ratio

between the tire cross section radius and the height of the center of gravity.

Example 2

Using the motorcycle in Example 1 but replacing each thin disk tire (t = 0) with a tire having cross

section radius (t = 0.10 m). Determine the time change in the capsize time constant.

The time constant increases from = 0.281s to = 0.305s.

This model is the same as the previous one, except that the pure lateral rolling condition on the

tire-to-road has been removed. In other words, the tires can slip sideways on the roadway when the

motorcycle leans over. This simplified model has two degrees of freedom:

rotation around the x -axis (leaning the motorcycle);

displacement in direction y (the contact point sideslips).

The motorcycle equilibrium equations that assume pure forward rolling motion are valid even when

the tire shows sideslip.

In this case, however, the lateral force exerted on the tires by the roadway is defined by both the

sideslip angle and the camber angle. This lateral force can be described by linear law as a function of

the tires sideslip and camber angles:

F = (k + k )mg

where the sideslip angle is given by = /V

The linearization around the vertical equilibrium position yields:

Manipulation of the equations to eliminate time dependence yields the following characteristic

equation:

It can be shown that just one of the four roots (eigenvalues) of the characteristic polynomial has a

positive real part. second root is zero, and the other two have negative real parts.

The positive root relates to capsize instability, whereas the two negative ones represent two stable

motions. Remember that the time constant for capsize is given by the inverse of the real eigenvalue. In

this model the time constant depends on the speed of forward motion V .

Example 3

Assume that the motorcycle in Example 2 has tires with the following stiffness values:

cornering stiffness coefficient: k = 11.0 rad1;

camber stiffness coefficient:

k = 0.93 rad 1 ;

Figure 7-8 shows the time constant for capsize as a function of speed. The time constant increases

with speed. The camber stiffness k has a towing effect on capsize (increasing the time constant) by

generating a sort of elastic resisting torque which acts against roll k Nt . Without the camber

component there would be more sideslip and the capsize time would be shorter as a result.

Figure 7-8 also shows the borderline case of zero camber stiffness in which the time constant

decreases as speed increases. This is due to the fact that to maintain the sideslip angle or rather the

sideslip force constant, the lateral velocity increases as speed V increases. Thus, higher speed

contributes to the lateral displacement of the contact point, thereby decreasing the time constant.

Example 4

In the borderline case of zero stiffness values for both k and k (that is, as if the road surface were a

sheet of ice) determine the time constant for the motorcycle described in Example 3.

In this case there is no force counteracting tire sideslip and the time constant decreases to its limit

value of:

Substituting numerical values yields = 0.122 s, which is the minimum value that can be obtained

with the steering head locked in place without taking gyroscopic effects into consideration.

7.1.2 Wobbl e

Wobble is an oscillation of the front assembly around the steering axis that can become unstable at

fairly low to middle speeds (Fig. 7-9).

Wobble oscillations resemble shimmy of a car s front wheels or airplane landing gear. Typical

frequency values range from 4 Hz for heavy motorcycles to 10 Hz for lightweight motorcycles.

Wobble frequency goes up as trail increases and front-frame inertia decreases, and is determined

mainly by the stiffness and damping of the front tire, although the lateral flexibility of the front fork

also plays a part.

In the forward speed range from 10 to 20 m/s (40 to 80 km/h), wobble is only slightly damped and

can therefore become unstable. Adding a steering damper increases the damping effect and,

consequently, the stability.

Wobble can first be thought of in complete isolation from rear-assembly motion and roll. Thus, the

front-end is a rigid body that can rotate around the steering axis while the rear frame is fixed (Fig. 710).

The equilibrium equation around the steering axis leads to the following relationship:

where:

is the front assembly moment of inertia (including the front wheel) around the

steering axis;

c is the damping coefficient of the steering damper;

is the lateral force acting on the tire.

This last term is assumed proportional to the sideslip angle according to the following equation:

with null value of the relaxation length. For small displacements the following equation can be used

the first depends on the lateral speed of the contact point due to steering velocity ;

the second on the steering angle measured at the road surface.

The effects due to the front tire normal load and front frame weight force are significantly smaller

than that due to tire lateral force. So, making the proper substitutions the motion equation for small

oscillations becomes:

Introducing an oscillating solution into the equation and eliminating time-dependence gives the

following characteristic equation:

The system is oscillating when the discriminant is negative, i.e., neglecting the damping c , for

forward speeds greater than :

Figures 7-11 and 7-12 show how the natural frequency and damping ratio, respectively, of the wobble

mode vary with speed. Specifically, Fig. 7-12 shows how a steering damper affects the damping ratio

of the wobble mode, especially at high speeds.

7.1.3 We ave

Weave is an oscillation of the entire motorcycle, but mainly the rear end, as shown in Fig. 7-13.

Fig.7-13 Weave.

The natural frequency of this side-to-side motion is zero when the forward speed is also zero and

ranges from 0 to 4 Hz at high speed. Weave is determined by many factors:

position of the center of gravity of the rear assembly (and secondarily that of the front

assembly);

wheel inertia;

caster angle;

trail;

cornering stiffness of the rear tire.

The damping of weave can be shown to decrease as speed increases.

Weave is usually unstable at a low speed (up to 7-8 m/s). It is generally stable in the middle speed

range, but it may be uncontrollable from the practical standpoint at high speed since its damping may

decrease substantially and its natural frequency may be too high for the rider to control..

The weave mode is generated by the coalescence, at very low speeds, of two unstable nonoscillating modes: body-capsize and steering-capsize (Fig. 7-14).

Body capsize

Body-capsize indicatescapsize of the entire motorcycle, and can be estimated with one of the three

simple models presented in section 7.1.1. The time constant with the steering free decreases slightly.

In fact, suppose the machine begins to fall to the rider s right. In body capsize mode, steering

geometry causes the machine to steer left thereby moving the front wheel contact point towards the

rider s right. Consequently, the ground contact line that joins the front and rear wheel ground contact

points rotates to the rider s right. This means the gravitational torque increases and so the vehicle

capsizes less quickly.

Steering capsize

Steering-capsize is a capsize of the steering head, due to the disaligning effect of both the front tire

normal load and front frame weight force. Once again consider the simplified situation in which the

rear frame is fixed whereas the front frame is free to steer. The equilibrium equation, neglecting the

steering damper and the tire lateral force, which does not act at the beginning of motion, because of

its lag, yields the following relationship:

The time constant of the steering capsize has values in the range 0.1-0.2s for speed less then 1 m/s.

Weave can first be seen as an oscillation of the rear end around the steering head axis almost

independent of front-assembly motion and roll motion. This model of weave with one degree of

freedom is based on the following assumptions:

the roll value for the motorcycle is null;

the steering head is locked in place.

This assumption arises from the observation of real weave oscillations, in which lateral displacement

of the steering head axis is substantially lower than the lateral displacement of the rear tire.

The motion equation is obtained by imposing equilibrium on rotation around the steering head axis.

The relationship obtained is once again the same relationship presented in the previous steeringcapsize section, where normal rear trail l substitutes normal trail an. The effects due to the front tire

normal load and front frame weight force are significantly smaller than that due to tire lateral force,

so we assume the following simplified expression of steering equilibrium:

is the rear assembly moment of inertia (including the rear wheel) around the

steering axis;

c is the damping constant for the steering head rotation;

is the lateral force acting on the tire.

This last term is assumed proportional to the rear sideslip angle according to the following

equation:

with null value of the relaxation length. For small displacements the following equation can be used

to calculate the sideslip angle:

the first results from the lateral speed of the contact point due to yaw velocity ;

the second from the rear frame yaw angle measured at the road surface.

Making the proper substitutions the motion equation for small oscillations becomes:

Introducing an oscillating solution into the equation and eliminating time-dependence gives the

following characteristic equation:

The system is oscillating when the discriminant is negative, i.e., for forward speeds greater than:

In this case, the frequency for the damped system and the damping ratio are given by:

the damping ratio falls rapidly and as speed increases it approaches a limit value:

the damped natural frequency decreases as inertia increases and increases with speed and tire

stiffness; with negligible damping c , increasing the speed it approaches the value:

this last equation confirms that the weave mode frequency increases with tire stiffness and the

length of the wheelbase, but decreases as the caster angle and inertia of the motorcycle increase.

Example 5

Let us consider a motorcycle with the following data:

caster angle

= 27

distance between rear contact point and steering axis

l = 1.38 m

l1 = 0.67 m

steering damper

c =6.8 Nm/rad/s

We will investigate how the characteristics of the weave mode change with speed. Figures 7-16 and 717 show how the natural frequency and damping ratio, respectively, of the weave mode vary with

speed.

The weave frequency tends to the undamped natural frequency value as the velocity increases. The

simplified model shows that the steering damper increases the weave damping ratio. In this case the

simplified mathematical results are not true because in reality the steering damping has a negative

effect on weave stability.

Up to this point, we have looked at weave and wobble in isolation assuming that the steering head

does not displace laterally in either vibration mode. Now we will use a system with three degrees of

freedom to represent the motorcycle. Looking at the motorcycle in the direction of the steering axis,

it is easy to see that the three degrees of freedom are the absolute rotations of the front assembly f ,

and rear assembly r around the steering axis, and the lateral displacement y of the steering axis (Fig.

7-18).

The resulting equations of motion are as follows:

Figures 7-19 and 7-20 confirm that:

the two modes of vibration are substantially independent of each other;

there are no significant differences between the model with one degree of freedom and the one

with three degrees of freedom with respect to the frequency values or damping ratios.

Fig. 7-20 Damping ratios for weave and wobble as a function of speed.

7.2.1 Introducti on

The motorcycle has two kinds of modes:

the in-plane modes, which involve frame, suspension and wheel motion in the vertical plane,

the out-of-plane modes, which involve roll, yaw, steering angle and steering head lateral

displacement.

The in-plane modes are related to ride comfort and road-holding, whereas the out-of-plane modes

are related to vehicle stability and handling. In straight running, in-plane and out-of-plane modes are

uncoupled and they can be examined separately.

The eigenvalues of the in-plane and out-of-plane modes are complex:

s = sr + isi

The natural frequency of the oscillating modes corresponds to the imaginary part of the

eigenvalue:

The real part of the eigenvalues gives information on the damping of the modes. In the case of the

out-of-plane modes, the real part of the eigenvalues provides information on the stability of the

motorcycle. The motion is unstable if the real part is positive, and damped if the real part is negative.

The damping ratio is given by:

If the imaginary part is zero the mode is a non-oscillating one and the time evolution of the generic

modal component can be represented by a decreasing or increasing exponential law:

where is the time constant, positive for unstable modes and negative for the stable ones.

The properties of the eigenvalues are clearly represented in the root locus graph, as shown in Fig.

7-21. The position of the eigenvalues in the complex plane represents different cases. The eigenvalues

located on the right, in relation to the vertical axis, represent unstable modes while the eigenvalues

located on the left are stable modes. To clarify the meaning of the eigenvalues, the time evolution

laws corresponding to different eigenvalues are shown in the same figure.

Fig. 7-21 Root locus and examples of time evolution laws for different eigenvalues.

The first out-of-plane motorcycle equations, linearized around the vertical equilibrium position,

were developed by R.S. Sharp in an influential article [Sharp, 1971].

Sharps model of the motorcycle has four degrees of freedom (Fig. 7-22):

rear-frame roll;

rear-frame yaw;

rotation of the front frame around the steering axis;

lateral displacement of the rear frame.

The tire-to-road contact forces are taken as linear functions of the sideslip and camber angles. The

lag in the forces with regards to the sideslip angles is introduced in the model using two first-order

differential equations.

Table 7-1.

Figure 7-24 shows the frequencies and real parts of vibration modes as a function of the forward

velocity, derived with Sharps model.

Fig. 7-24 Frequencies and real parts of vibration modes as a function of speed.

The wobble covers the frequency range 8.5 to 9.6 Hz; the speed of the motorcycle has little effect

on wobble frequency.

The maximum rear wobble frequency is approximately 6.5 Hz at the minimum velocity; the rear

wobble frequency drops off markedly at speeds of 18 m/s and above and ceases to vibrate.

The maximum weave frequency is approximately 3.6 Hz at the maximum velocity. In fact the weave

mode frequency increases with speed.

The Fig. 7-24 also shows how the real part of the eigenvalues varies with speed. Note that:

weave mode is unstable at low speed, damped in the medium speed range, and weakly damped at

high speed;

rear wobble mode by contrast is strongly damped and becomes overcritical above a certain

speed;

front wobble is damped in the medium and low speed ranges, but becomes a little unstable at

high speed. In fact, the oscillations associated with wobble are the most dangerous since their

high frequency makes them hard for the rider to control.

Above approximately 18 m/s the rear wobble becomes supercritical and splits into two modes. The

first one is very stable and characterized by nearly constant damping, while the second one is

characterized by a decreasing real part which gradually becomes more stable.

Figure 7-24 shows that the real part of the capsize eigenvalue is always negative, it is very stable at

low velocity and tends to become borderline unstable at high velocity. Stability at low velocity is in

contrast with the experimental evidence. However, it is worth remembering that the first Sharp model

is based on wheels with zero thickness; since the capsize mode depends on the location of the front

contact point, the evaluation of the capsize mode needs a more accurate tire model.

The frequencies and dampings of the out-of-plane modes in straight running are quite well

validated by experiment results. In cornering, the frequencies and the damping ratios, of both in-plane

and out-of-plane modes, vary with respect to the straight running condition. Furthermore, the two

types of modes are coupled to each other.

A more complex mathematical model is needed to give a more accurate description of motorcycle

behavior than the current one. For this reason the first Sharp model can be developed further, by

adding the suspensions degrees of freedom and describing the tire properties accurately.

The multi-body model of the motorcycle from which the remarks included in this chapter arise is

composed of six rigid bodies, respectively: (for more information see [Cossalter and Lot, 2002]):

the rear frame (which includes chassis, engine, tank, rider, part of the rear suspension and part of

swinging arm),

the front frame (which includes handlebars, sprung fork components and the steering head),

the rear unsprung mass (which includes part of the swinging arm and the rear brake caliper),

the front unsprung mass (which mainly includes part of the forks and the front brake calipers),

the rear wheel and the front wheel.

This set of bodies has eleven degrees of freedom in all, as can be seen in Fig. 7-25, they are:

the position of the rear frame center of mass (three coordinates);

the orientation of the rear frame given by pitch, roll and yaw angles;

the travel of both suspensions (the front one is telescopic, the rear one is a swinging-type);

the spin angles of the wheels;

the steering angle.

The dynamics of this multi-body system is very complex because of the large number of bodies

and forces. The aerodynamic effects are reduced to only three forces (drag, lift, and lateral) which act

on the center of pressure of the rear frame. The brake torques are applied on the respective wheel

axes, whereas the propulsive force is transmitted from the engine to the rear wheel by a chain

transmission. The steering torque acts between the front and rear frame along the steering axis.

The tire model accurately describes the geometry of the tread which is fundamental in evaluating

the tire behavior at large camber angles. The carcass is thought of as elastically deformable along

radial, lateral and tangential directions. The contact forces (see also chapter 2) are applied on a point

whose position is defined by the equilibrium between the external forces (due to the camber angle, the

longitudinal slip and the sideslip) and the internal elastic reactions. This point represents the center of

the contact patch. The contact yaw torque is applied on the same point and acts around the vertical

axis, whereas the rolling resistance acts in the wheel plane and tends to slow the wheels rotation.

Fig. 7-26 shows the root locus plot of both in-plane and out-of-plane modes for a sport motorcycle

in straight running. The direction of the arrows shows the increase of the velocity from 3 to 60 m/s.

The grey lines starting from the origin are constant damping ratio loci.

Fig. 7-26 Root-locus plot in straight running at different speeds, (speed from 3 to 60 m/s).

The in-plane modes, pitch and bounce, are also discussed in chapter 5. In the case plotted here the

pitch and bounce are coupled together, the pitch mode involves a not negligible vertical displacement

of the motorcycle mass center while the bounce mode involves a not negligible pitch rotation.

Generally the pitch mode is more damped than the bounce mode. In fact, due to the damping selected

for the shock absorbers, the bounce mode has a damping ratio of about 0.3-0.5 whereas the pitch

mode generally has a damping ratio of about 0.9 and can also be overdamped. The frequency of the

bounce mode is in the range 1.4-2.0 Hz; the pitch frequency increases from 2 Hz to 2.9 Hz at 60 m/s.

The front hop mode (around 10-11 Hz) and the rear hop mode (around 13-14 Hz), respectively, of

the front and rear unsprung mass are characterized by negligible motion of the sprung mass.

Moreover, Fig. 7-26 highlights the values and the dependence of the real and imaginary parts of the

main out of plain modes on the velocity:

capsize;

wobble;

weave;

rear wobble.

The wobble and weave modes are vibrating modes in the entire range of velocity considered here

while the rear wobble becomes overcritical when velocity increases. The capsize mode is a non-

vibrating mode that is quite unstable in the example considered. The wobble mode becomes unstable

when increasing the velocity due to the fact that in this model the steering damper was set to zero.

Figure 7-27 shows the frequencies and the damping properties of the main out-of-plane modes as a

function of the forward velocity.

Fig. 7-27 Frequencies and real parts of vibration modes as a function of speed.

The speed of the motorcycle has little effect on wobble frequency; the maximum wobble frequency

is approximately 11 Hz at the minimum velocity and after 15 m/s remains constant and equal to 7.8

Hz. The wobble mode is damped in the low and medium speed ranges but becomes unstable at high

speed.

The rear wobble ceases to vibrate at a velocity of about 14 m/s; it is a strongly damped mode that

becomes overcritical.

The weave mode frequency increases with speed; its maximum value is approximately 3.0 Hz at the

maximum velocity. The weave mode is well damped in the medium speed range, and weakly damped

at high speed.

The capsize eigenvalue is always positive. It is unstable at low velocity and tends to become less

unstable at high velocity due to the gyroscopic effects.

In the following sections details of the out-of-plane modes in straight running are presented.

Capsize

Simplified models with locked steering show that capsize is always unstable. Actually the capsize

mode may be unstable or moderately stable depending on velocity and on motorcycle and tire

properties.

A detailed analysis shows that capsize becomes more unstable by reducing the mechanical trail of

the motorcycle and increasing the caster angle. As far as tires are concerned, we can summarize that

only the front one has appreciable influence due to the presence of the steering mechanism. An

increase of the cross section size (section radius) reduces the stability, but does not make the mode

unstable. On the contrary, the yaw torque parameters can alter the sign of the real part of the

eigenvalue: twisting torque tends to stabilize whereas the self-aligning torque tends to destabilize the

capsize. Figure 7-28 shows the time evolution of a stable capsize at low velocity, whereas Fig. 7-29

shows the case of an unstable capsize at the same velocity. We can observe that in the stable case, roll

and steering motion have opposite phases.

Figure 7-30 highlights the time evolution of a stable capsize at high velocity. From these three

figures one can observe that at the lower velocity of 4 m/s the steering, roll, and yaw variations are

much more pronounced than any variation in lateral displacement. Conversely at 30 m/s the lateral

displacement is the dominate modal content with much smaller variations in the other signals. This is

due to the wheel gyroscopic effects that become important at high velocity. Therefore, the cornering

maneuver at high speed involves other out-of-plane modes to a greater extent than the capsize mode.

Figure 7-31 shows how the real part of the eigenvalue of the capsize mode changes when the values

of several geometric and inertial parameters of the motorcycle and several tire properties are

changed. In each case only one parameter was changed by 10% and all the other parameters were

maintained constant. In reality it would be difficult, in several cases, to vary just one parameter at a

time. For example, the increase in the radius of the front wheel, causes variations in the trail, the

caster angle, and other parameters at the same time.

The figure shows that the stability of the capsize mode can be improved in the following ways:

- decreasing:

the caster angle;

the cross section radius of the front tire;

the height of the motorcycle mass center;

the front wheel spin inertia;

the trail of the front tire;

the camber stiffness of the front tire.

- increasing:

the twisting torque of the front tire;

the mechanical trail;

the distance between the motorcycle mass center and the rear wheel axis;

the cross section radius of the rear tire;

the motorcycle roll inertia;

the front wheel radius;

the camber stiffness of the rear tire.

The figure also shows that the influence of all the parameters decreases when the speed increases;

in fact as the speed increases the gyroscopic effects become dominant.

Fig. 7-31 Predicted change in capsize mode at 10 m/s (light gray) at 30 m/s s (gray) , at 60 m/s (dark

gray) for parameter increased 10% with respect to the reference case.

Wobble

As shown in Fig. 7-32, wobble is characterized by rotations of the front-frame while the rear frame

is only slightly affected. The lateral displacement of the motorcycle and the yaw and roll oscillations

are substantially smaller than the steering oscillations.

Figure 7-33 shows sensitivities of the wobble mode damping to the variation in the motorcycle and

tire parameters. The figure shows that the stability of the wobble mode can be improved in the

following ways:

- increasing:

the lateral stiffness of the carcass of the front tire;

the front wheel radius;

- decreasing:

the distance between the motorcycle mass center and the rear wheel axis;

the cornering stiffness of the front tire;

the front wheel spin inertia.

The need to increase the lateral stiffness and, at the same time, to decrease the cornering stiffness

of the front tire means that the relaxation length of the front tire sideslip force should be shorter to

obtain strong improvements in stability.

Note that an increase in:

the height of the motorcycle mass center;

the caster angle;

the rear wheel radius;

gives advantages at low velocity and disadvantages at high velocity.

The increase of the roll inertia of the motorcycle and of the mechanical trail gives an opposite

behavior, i.e., gives advantages at high velocity and disadvantages at low velocity.

Note that increasing the damping constant of the steering damper is a very easy way to increase the

damping ratio for the wobble mode, although it has the undesired effect of slightly reducing the

weave mode damping.

Fig. 7-33 Predicted change in wobble damping at 10 m/s (light gray) at 30 m/s s (gray) , at 60 m/s

(dark gray) for parameter increased 10% with respect to the reference case.

Weave

Figure 7-34 shows the weave mode with the motorcycle moving at a forward speed of 10 m/s.

Note that this mode is characterized by sizable oscillations in roll, yaw and steering angle. The

rotation of the steering head is opposite in phase with respect to the yaw oscillation, which is in turn

90 out of phase with the roll oscillation. The lateral displacement of the motorcycle lags behind roll.

As speed increases, the lateral displacement becomes more pronounced, as does the rotation of the

steering head with respect to the roll and yaw oscillations (see Fig. 7-35).

Figure 7-36 shows how the damping ratio for the weave mode varies when the values of several

parameters of the motorcycle are changed. Note that the increase of the damping constant of the

steering damper has the undesired effect of slightly reducing damping of the weave mode.

The figure shows that for the motorcycle used in this example the weave mode stability at high

velocity can be improved in the following ways:

- increasing:

the distance between the motorcycle mass center and the rear wheel axis;

the caster angle;

the front wheel spin inertia;

the lateral stiffness of the carcass of the rear tire;

- decreasing:

the motorcycle yaw inertia.

Fig. 7-36 Predicted change in weave damping at 10 m/s (light gray) at 30 m/s s (gray) , at 60 m/s

(dark gray) for parameter increased 10% with respect to the reference case.

The increases in the height of the motorcycle mass center and of the rear wheel radius give a

disadvantage at low velocity and an advantage at high velocity. On the contrary, the increase of roll

inertia is advantageous at low velocity and proves a disadvantage at high velocity.

The increase of the mechanical trail gives a slight advantage at medium velocities but a

disadvantage at high velocity. An increase in the cornering stiffness of the rear tire produces similar

behavior.

It is worth pointing out that the increase in front wheel spin inertia is stabilizing due to the increase

of the gyroscopic phenomenon. On the contrary, the increase in the front wheel radius (keeping front

wheel spin inertia constant) is destabilizing because it causes a reduction in front wheel spin angular

velocity and, hence, a reduction in gyroscopic effects.

In the simulation the rider is assumed to be rigid and attached to the main frame. Effectively the

rider acts like a damper that improves both wobble and weave stability. For example, a pillion

passenger improves stability whereas the same rigid mass attached in the same position causes a

decrease of the stability.

Rear wobble

Rear wobble is characterized by roll and yaw fluctuations that are almost in phase with each other,

and in phase opposition to the lateral displacement of the motorcycle and the steering angle (Fig. 737).

In straight running the in-plane and the out-of-plane modes are uncoupled. Since the roll angle is

null, the tire vertical loads lie in the motorcycle symmetry plane to which the tire lateral forces are

orthogonal. For this reason the normal loads only excite the in-plane modes, whereas the lateral

forces only act on the out-of-plane vibration.

When the motorcycle corners, it is inclined by some roll angle and each of the previous forces has

components in both directions. It should now be clear that in some modes both in-plane and out-ofplane degrees of freedom are involved. This phenomenon is called modal coupling.

In Fig. 7-38 the root locus plot in cornering at constant speed is presented. In the same figure, for

comparison, the root locus in straight running is plotted in grey.

For the motorcycle considered here the main differences between the loci are:

the rear hop moves a little towards a more stable region;

the front hop does-not present significant modifications;

there is an interaction between the bounce and the weave modes at medium speed;

there are two pitch modes that differ in phase between the pitch motion and the yaw and steering

motions;

the capsize mode becomes more unstable.

the frequency of the wobble mode increases slightly.

In the following sections the time evolution of some modes in cornering are presented.

Fig. 7-38 Root-locus plot in cornering at different speeds, (speed from 3 to 60 m/s, centripetal

acceleration = 0.5 g).

Capsize

When the motorcycle is rolled the capsize mode involves both in-plane and out-of-plane degrees of

freedom, as Fig 7-39 shows.

In this configuration (that is with a speed of 4 m/s and a camber angle of 30 degrees) the mode shows

a pronounced instability; in fact, the motion components depart from the steady state value as the time

increases.

Wobble

The plot of the wobble (Fig 7-40) shows only slight coupling, because only the out-of-plane

components are involved in the oscillation, whereas the in-plane quantities keep their constant trim

values.

Weave

The weave is the mode showing the main coupling effect: all components of the eigenvector are

involved. Figure 7-41 shows that the mode is stable and the oscillation vanishes after 1 second.

Bounce

The time evolution of the motion components for the bounce mode shows the strong interaction

between in-plane and out-of-plane oscillations.

The assumptions of rigid bodies and a fixed rider in motorcycle modeling are not strictly true,

particularly for a less rigid chassis as in the case of a scooter. Therefore, in order to highlight the

effect of flexibility, a scooter was considered. As is common in scooters low-price front forks have a

non-negligible bending and torsion compliance; the engine is elastically connected to the main

chassis and the low-slung, cradle shape of the frame does not make it possible to design a high, stiff

chassis. Inadequate structural stiffness may notably reduce stability and handling of these vehicles. In

order to investigate these phenomena, a mathematical model of the scooter which also includes

The vehicle compliances are taken into account by means of a fork bending stiffness (25-75 kNm/rad), a fork torsion stiffness (4-10 kN-m/rad), a swingarm bending stiffness (30-70 kN-m/rad) and

a swingarm torsion stiffness (10-20 kN-m /rad). Rider-vehicle mobility is taken into account

according to the suggestion of the reference, [Katayama et al., 1997].

Simulation results are presented in terms of the root-loci in Fig. 7-44. The well-known weave,

wobble and capsize modes are clearly visible, and differences between the rigid and lumped stiffness

model estimation are also evident. Moreover the lumped stiffness model shows two additional modes

that correspond to the rider lean and shake.

Fig. 7-44 Root-locus plot in straight running at different speeds: rigid model vs. flexible model

(speed from 1 to 40 m/s).

In more detail, the rigid model estimates a wobble frequency that decreases from 8 to 7.5 Hz as the

speed increases; on the contrary the lumped stiffness model predicts a frequency which rises from 6

to 8 Hz. Moreover, at low speeds the wobble stability of the rigid model is greater than that of the

lumped stiffness model, whereas at high speeds the wobble instability of the rigid model is greater

than that of the lumped stiffness model.

The main differences in the weave mode are due to the mode branching in the lumped stiffness

model, which gives rise to two modes coupled with the rider lean motion. Both models show that the

weave mode has a very low frequency at low speeds; this frequency climbs to 3 Hz as the speed

increases. Weave mode is unstable at very low speeds, becomes very stable in the medium speed

range and its damping ratio decreases at high speeds.

The capsize mode is non oscillatory in the whole speed range and there are no differences between

the two models. The rider shake mode is very stable and does not appear to influence other modes.

Figure 7-45 presents the simulation results, obtained taking into account only the front fork

bending compliance. The wobble mode is deeply influenced by fork compliance. In particular a

flexible fork decreases low speed stability, but increases stability in the upper speed range. This

behaviour can be attributed to a pair of opposing effects: the increment of fork flexibility tends to

reduce stability, at the same time the combination of wheel spin and fork bending generate a

gyroscopic torque around the steering axis which tends to stabilize the wobble. At a low speed the

first negative effect is predominant. At high speed the second positive effect dominates.

Fig. 7-45 Frequency and stability of the wobble mode taking into account only the fork bending

compliance.

The weave mode is only slightly affected by fork compliance. Figure 7-46 shows the effect of the

swingarm bending compliance on the weave mode: the flexibility may increase weave stability

slightly at high speeds.

Finally, Fig. 7-47 shows that the torsional compliance of the swingarm always worsens the weave

stability at medium-high speeds.

Fig. 7-46 Frequency and stability of weave mode taking into account the swingarm bending

compliance only.

Fig. 7-47 Frequency and stability of the weave mode taking into account only the swingarm

torsional compliance.

A motorcycles dynamic properties are described using terms like maneuverability, handling and

stability. Maneuverability and handling describe the motorcycles ability to execute complicated

maneuvers, and how difficult it is for the rider to perform them. Stability, on the other hand, means a

motorcycles ability to maintain equilibrium in response to outside disturbances like an uneven road

surface or gusts of wind.

Motorcycles in motion need to be controlled by the rider at all times. Rider input affects the

motorcycles equilibrium and direction of forward motion.

In rectilinear motion, a motorcycle is called directionally stable if it is easy to control or

naturally tends to maintain its equilibrium and follow a rectilinear path.

It is easy to see, however, that a large tendency towards directional stability makes a motorcycle hard

to handle, i.e., cumbersome to turn and control through twists and turns.

This section discusses the directional stability of motorcycles, which is determined by a number of

factors:

inertial properties of the motorcycle;

forward speed;

geometric properties of the steering head (which collectively determine the aligning effect of the

trail);

gyroscopic effects;

tire properties.

Obviously, the greater the motorcycles quantity of motion (mV), the less it will deviate from its

rectilinear trajectory as a result of outside disturbances.

Taking a gust of wind as an example (Fig. 8-1). Suppose the aerodynamic pressure generated by the

gust acts on the motorcycle for short time interval t that tends to zero. The disturbance causes an

angular deviation of the motorcycle from the rectilinear trajectory equal to:

The angle of deviation is inversely proportional to the mass of the motorcycle and its forward

speed, and directly proportional to the lateral aerodynamic force. The length of the motorcycles

wheelbase also plays a rather important role in determining directional stability. Figure 8-2 shows

how a motorcycle with a short wheelbase behaves differently from one with a long wheelbase. If a

disturbance causes a displacement of the front wheel, the angle of deviation from the rectilinear

trajectory is inversely proportional to the length of the wheelbase.

In terms of the effect of motorcycle geometry, we have already seen that the moment exerted by

resistance on the front tire has an aligning effect that increases with forward speed and the length of

the trail.

We can calculate this aligning effect using a simplified model: a motorcycle in rectilinear motion

traveling at constant speed. Suppose that an outside disturbance causes the front end to rotate to the

right, and therefore the motorcycle begins to follow a curved trajectory to the right with a large

radius. Let us also assume that the roll angle is negligible. Based on these simplifying assumptions,

we can calculate the moment exerted around the steering head axis.

The following forces are acting on the vehicle as a whole:

thrust S, exerted at the contact point of the rear wheel;

drag FD , which is assumed to be exerted at the center of gravity;

rolling resistance

exerted at the contact point of the front wheel;

lateral forces

, exerted at the contact points of the wheels;

vertical loads Nf , Ns exerted at the contact points of the wheels.

and the thrust needed to make the motorcycle travel through the turn at constant speed:

A moment is exerted around the steering head axis (Fig. 8-4) through:

the component of the vertical load Nf perpendicular to the steering head axis which has the effect

of increasing the steering angle: N f sin,

the component of lateral force perpendicular to the steering head axis, which has the effect of

aligning the wheel: cos .

The resulting moment exerted by the two forces, neglecting the rolling resistance, is given by:

Since the positive term is proportional to the square of the speed, the aligning moment increases

with speed. The longer the normal trail is, the more marked the effect is. As expected, motorcycle

stability is strongly influenced by the length of the trail.

We have suggested that gyroscopic effects play an especially important role in directional stability

and maneuverability. Many gyroscopic effects are experienced while cornering, and entering or

exiting turns. The rotation of the steering head, wheels and rotary engine parts generate gyroscopic

moments as a result of motorcycle roll and/or yaw motions.

A gyroscopic effect is generated by a rigid body rotating around an axis a a, which in turn is

rotating around a second axis b b askew (not parallel) to the first axis a a . The gyroscopic effect

takes the form of a couple exerted around an axis perpendicular to both a a and b b. The value of

the gyroscopic moment is equal to the vector product of the angular momentum I of the body

around axis a a and the speed of rotation around the second axis b b. Angular momentum is

equal to the polar moment of inertia of the body I around axis a a multiplied with the speed of

rotation around the same axis.

Motorcycle dynamics incorporate a variety of gyroscopic effects, which may be broken down

yaw gyroscopic effects: where axis b b passes through the turn center of the path and is

perpendicular to the roadway;

roll gyroscopic effects: where axis b b is the straight line lying in the plane of the roadway

which passes through the tire contact points;

steering gyroscopic effects: where axis b b is the steering head axis.

Gyroscopic effect generated by the wheels during cornering (wheel

rotation - yaw motion)

Let us consider the front wheel alone, rotating at a constant speed f as the motorcycle travels

through a turn of radius Rc at a constant yaw velocity (Fig. 8-5).

Fig. 8-5 Gyroscopic effect generated by the front wheel during cornering (the coordinate system

with subscript m is attached to the fork of the motorcycle).

The motion of the wheel as it corners generates a gyroscopic moment around the horizontal axis,

which has the effect of straightening the wheel:

The second approximate expression is valid if the yaw velocity can be considered small with

respect to the speed of rotation f. This assumption is verified in practice because the turning radius

is much greater than the wheel radius. Axis xm is fixed to the fork, and therefore, it is a mobile axis.

Looking now at the effect of both wheels and setting aside the fact that the wheels have slightly

different roll angles and directions during cornering, their gyroscopic effects can be added together:

Motorcycle equilibrium occurs when the resultant of the weight force and the centrifugal force

intersects the line joining the contact points of the two wheels. Disregarding the gyroscopic effect and

assuming zero thickness wheels, the ideal roll angle for a motorcycle in steady state cornering is

given by the following simple equation:

As we have seen, the gyroscopic effect of the wheels during cornering is manifested by a righting

moment. To counteract the gyroscopic effect of the two wheels and thereby maintain equilibrium, the

rider can lean into the turn in such a way that the resultant of the weight force and the centrifugal

force generates a moment equal and opposite to the gyroscopic moment of the two wheels, as shown

in Fig. 8-6.

Fig. 8-6 Influence on equilibrium of gyroscopic effect generated by wheels during cornering.

Of course, the rider can achieve equilibrium without displacing his trunk in order to produce a

displacement of the mass center towards inside of the curve, but the lean angle of the motorcycle will

be greater than the ideal roll angle calculated on the assumption that the gyroscopic effect is zero

(Fig. 8-7).

In this case, the righting moment generated by the centrifugal force and the moment generated by

the gyroscopic effect (which also has a righting effect) are both offset by the overturning moment of

the weight force. The gyroscopic effect makes the actual roll angle greater than the ideal roll angle

that would be achieved if the gyroscopic effect were absent.

The increase in the roll angle needed to counterbalance the gyroscopic effect is given by:

Since is small with respect to , it can be disregarded in the numerator on the right hand side, the

following simpler equation holds:

Here, the numerator represents the gyroscopic moment generated by the two wheels of the

motorcycle. The moment M which counterbalances the gyroscopic moment is generated by the

resultant of the weight force and the centrifugal force. The increase makes the motorcycle less

maneuverable, since the motorcycle takes more time to reach the incrementally larger equilibrium

roll angle (which is greater).

Example 1

Assume a motorcycle in stationary motion during cornering:

turning radius:

Rc = 200m;

The properties of the motorcycle are as follows:

mass:

m = 200 kg;

h = 0.6 m;

wheel radius:

Rf = Rr =0.32 m;

Now determine the gyroscopic moment generated by the motion of the two wheels, and the resulting

increase in the roll angle.

Since we know the turning radius and forward speed, we can calculate the angular velocity values:

yaw velocity of the motorcycle: = 0.2 rad/s;

= 125 rad/s;

and therefore:

ideal = 39.20;

gyroscopic moment generated by the motion of the two wheels: Mg = 23.25 Nm.

The rider can achieve equilibrium in one of two ways:

either displacing the mass center toward the inside of the turn by: d = 9.2 mm;

or increasing the roll angle by: = 0.88.

rotation - yaw motion)

The gyroscopic effect generated by the engine is determined by the engines speed of rotation,

which depends on what gear the motorcycle is in.

Let us assume a motorcycle in steady-state cornering motion and disregard the inertia of the

wheels. In other words, we are going to look at the gyroscopic effect generated by the rotation of the

engine only. The main shaft of the engine generally rotates in the same direction as the wheels, as

shown in Fig. 8-8.

As before, the gyroscopic effect generated by the engine causes equilibrium to be achieved by

leaning the motorcycle over at an actual roll angle greater than the ideal angle that would be

necessary if the gyroscopic effect were absent.

The resulting increase in the roll angle is equal to:

The sign is positive when the engine rotates in the same direction as the tires and negative for a

counter-rotating engine.

The term

expresses the engines total angular momentum, incorporating the angular

momentum of the drive shaft, transmission shafts and any other rotating shaft parallel to rear wheel

axis and rotating with same sense:

In calculating the resulting angular momentum, the sign of the angular velocity is assumed to be

positive if the direction of shaft rotation agrees with the direction of rotation of the wheels.

Otherwise, it is assumed to be negative:

For example, if the engines rotation is in the same sense as concordant with the wheel spin the

main gear shaft rotates with an opposing velocity, and its contribution is therefore negative.

Of course, the engines contribution must be added to, or subtracted from, the contribution of the

wheels, depending on the direction of rotation following the convention established above (added if

the direction of rotation is concordant with the wheel spin, and subtracted if not).

To reduce the gyroscopic effect, the momentum of the rotating bodies must be reduced. Since

lightweight materials can only be used to reduce the moment of inertia, an attractive option is to

reduce the angular momentum of the engine, or even to give it a negative sign, by choosing a rotation

in the direction opposite to the wheel spin.

For example, in some two-cylinder racing engines the two drive shafts rotate in opposite

directions. Thus, the gyroscopic effects of the two crankshafts cancel each other out, leaving only the

effect of the transmission shafts.

However, the main gear shaft and transmission contribute less to the gyroscopic effect than the

drive shaft does, since they have less inertia and rotate at slower angular velocities; the velocity ratio

between the drive shaft and the main transmission shaft is of the order of 2 to 2.5.

Example 2

Using the motorcycle in Example 1 in steady-state cornering motion, determine the gyroscopic effect

of an engine with the following properties:

moment of inertia of crankshaft:

primary shaft inertia moment (including clutch):

secondary shaft inertia moment:

engine - primary shaft transmission ratio:

m, p = 3;

engine rpm:

n =12,000 rpm.

Adding up the various components, the engines total angular momentum is equal to:

The gyroscopic moment is: Mg = 2.66 Nm; the increase in roll angle solely due to the gyroscopic

effect generated by the engine is = 0.1.

Note that the gyroscopic effect generated only by the engine is less than that generated by the

wheels (Mengine is about 8% of Mwheels); the engines contribution generally falls within the range of

5% to 15% of the gyroscopic effect generated by the wheels. If the contribution by the wheels is taken

into account as well, the increase in the roll angle goes up to = 0.97.

rotation - yaw motion)

Now consider a motorcycle equipped with a longitudinal drive shaft cornering at constant speed, as

shown in Fig. 8-9.

If the turn is to the left with respect to the direction of forward motion the motorcycle leans over to

the left. Assuming that the longitudinal drive shaft is rotating toward the outside of the turn, the

gyroscopic moment acting around the ym axis is equal to:

The gyroscopic moment has the effect of extending the front suspension and compressing the rear

suspension to a greater degree making the motorcycle pitch backwards.

The gyroscopic moment has the opposite effects when cornering to the right, i.e., the front

suspension compresses and the rear suspension extends.

Now consider the motorcycle cornering to the left again, but this time assume that the drive shaft

rotates toward the inside of the turn.

The gyroscopic moment acting around the ym axis reverses sign:

In this instance, the gyroscopic moment has the effect of reducing the load on the rear suspension

and increasing the load on the front suspension. The moment generated by the suspensions forces

balances out the gyroscopic moment, with the end result of the motorcycle characteristically pitching

forward slightly.

Example 3

Now assume that the engine in example 2 is mounted longitudinally.

The stiffness values for the front and rear suspensions are: k f = 9 kN/m and kr = 2 kN/m, respectively.

We want to calculate the change in trim generated by the gyroscopic effect of the engine.

The gyroscopic moment of the engine is equal to: Mg = 2.43 Nm.

To calculate the pitch angle, we need to take into account the equilibrium of the motorcycle on

which the gyroscopic moment is acting (Fig. 8-10). The static equilibrium equations easily yield the

vertical displacement of the center of gravity and the pitch angle:

Both the pitch angle of 0.01 and the increase in height of the center of gravity are entirely negligible.

Gyroscopic effect generated by the front wheel (front wheel rotationroll

motion)

Fig. 8-11 Front wheel rotation - roll motion induce a gyroscopic moment acting on the front end.

Now we will look at the front wheel while the motorcycle is rolling to the right. The front-wheel

spin, coupled with the roll to the right, generates a gyroscopic moment M g that acts on the front

frame around an axis lying in the plane of the motorcycle and perpendicular to the longitudinal roll

axis, as shown in Fig. 8-11:

The projection along the steering axis provides the beneficial moment around the steering axis:

Thus, the gyroscopic moment has the effect of turning the steering head to the right, thereby

helping the motorcycle enter the turn (increasing the steering angle reduces the turning radius).

Analogously, when the roll velocity changes sign as the motorcycle returns to the vertical position the

gyroscopic moment has the effect of reducing the steering angle, thereby helping the motorcycle exit

the turn and return to rectilinear motion.

Example 4

Now consider a motorcycle rolling from left to right. To calculate the gyroscopic moment acting on

the steering head, assume that the motorcycle is rolling from the left to the right at a velocity of 0.5

rad/s.

The properties of the motorcycle are as follows:

moment of polar inertia of front wheel:

motorcycle roll velocity:

spin velocity of wheel:

= 100 rad/s;

rake angle:

= 25;

It can be demonstrated that in transient maneuvers such as the lane change most of the steering

torque applied by the rider is used to overcome this gyroscopic moment.

If the motorcycle is assumed to be a rigid body (i.e., with the steering head locked in place), the

gyroscopic effect of the wheel spin during roll can easily be shown to generate a yawing moment, as

shown in Fig. 8-12.

Again, consider a motorcycle rolling from left to right. The gyroscopic moment acting on the

motorcycle is equal to:

The gyroscopic moment tends to make the motorcycle yaw to the right, and is balanced by the

lateral resistance exerted on the wheels by the ground. Thus, the front lateral force increases slightly

F, while the rear lateral force decreases by the same amount:

When exiting the turn the motorcycle rolls from right to left. The gyroscopic moment reverses

sign, and, hence, also the variation in tire lateral forces changes sign.

Example 5 Now consider a motorcycle rolling from left to right at a roll velocity of 0.5 rad/s. The

properties of the motorcycle are as follows:

moment of polar inertia of wheels:

spin velocity of wheels:

= 100 rad/s;

length of wheelbase:

p = 1.37 m;

Determine the gyroscopic effect generated by the wheels and the change in lateral force.

The gyroscopic moment acting on the motorcycle is equal to 60 Nm.

The change F in lateral force needed to counterbalance the gyroscopic moment is 44 N when the

motorcycle is in the vertical position.

This is a fairly high value compared to the values for the lateral force needed to maintain

equilibrium under steady-state cornering. For example with speed V = 30 m/s, turning radius Rc = 200

m, and mass m = 180 kg the sum of the two lateral forces must be equal to 872 .

If the total lateral force is distributed evenly between the two wheels, thereby exerting a transverse

force of 436 on each wheel, the variation due to the gyroscopic effect is on the order of 10 %.

Since the wheels direction of spin is perpendicular to the steering head axis, turning the handlebars

from right to left generates a gyroscopic moment around an axis perpendicular to both the steering

head axis and the axis of the front wheel, as shown in Fig. 8-13:

This has the effect of leaning the motorcycle over towards the right. The projection of the gyroscopic

moment on the roll axis (the line connecting the contact points of the two wheels) is as follows:

Fig. 8-13 Gyroscopic effect generated by the front wheel and steering head rotations.

Based on these gyroscopic effects, one might conclude that a motorcycle with zero wheel inertia is

ideal. It is important to point out, however, that the gyroscopic effect generated by the front wheel and

steering motion plays an important part in motorcycle stability during rectilinear motion.

Since the same principles govern control of any two-wheeled vehicle at low speed, a motorcyclist

also knows how to ride a bicycle.

A child learning to ride a bicycle begins by rolling down a gentle hill, and quickly learns that, if the

bicycle begins to lean to the right and he turns the handlebars in the same direction, the bicycle easily

returns to the vertical position after turning right. If the bicycle leans to the left, the equilibrium is

achieved by a similar maneuver.

The path the bicycle follows is influenced by the control actions continually made by the cyclist to

keep the bicycle vertical. Therefore, as a result the bicycle follows a weaving path, and how much it

weaves is determined by the skill of the rider.

The same principles are used to control the motorcycles vertical equilibrium at low speed.

As a motorcycle leans to the right its fall is counteracted by turning the handlebars to the right. The

motorcycle begins to turn right, creating a centrifugal force that straightens the motorcycle back up,

as shown in Fig. 8-14.

Let us suppose an external disturbance that causes the motorcycle to roll to the right, as shown in

phase 1 of Fig. 8-15 and that the rider does not apply any torque to the handlebars; in other words,

he/she remains passive. Let be the angular velocity of the front wheel, the roll velocity, and the

steering velocity.

Due to the front wheel-spin and roll velocities a gyroscopic moment is generated (phases 2) that

has the effect of turning the handlebars to the right (phases 3).

The handlebars steer to the right thereby reducing the turning radius (phase 3).

As the turning radius decreases, the centrifugal force increases, thereby straightening up the

motorcycle (phases 3-4).

At the same time, due to the front wheel spin and steering and yaw velocities an overturning

gyroscopic moment is generated that counteracts the roll motion towards the right (phase 3-4).

The motorcycle stops rolling to the right (phase 4). The centrifugal force has the effect of

straightening the motorcycle up and reversing the roIl motion (phase 5-6).

The roll-induced gyroscopic moment has the effect of turning the handlebars to the left, thereby

steering the motorcycle to the left.

Finally, the motorcycle returns to the vertical position shown in phase 6, but it continues to roll to

the left, and the resulting gyroscopic moment turns the steering head to the left. When rolling to the

left the motorcycle goes through a similar sequence.

After learning how to keep a two-wheeled vehicle in vertical equilibrium in rectilinear motion one

must learn how to turn.

The beginner rider of a bicycle finds a gentle hill and sets off, worrying only about keeping the

bicycle upright. At a certain point he spies an obstacle e.g., a pothole to his left, and decides to change

direction, so he turns the handlebars to the right. The bicycle begins to follow a curved trajectory to

the right. The centrifugal force, generated as the bicycle rounds the curve, rapidly leans the bicycle

and rider toward the left, making a fall inevitable.

After several unsuccessful attempts, the rider comes up with a strategy that is neither simple nor

intuitive. If he wants to change his or her direction toward the right he must first apply leftward torque

to the handlebars (you turn left to go right). That makes the steering head turn to the left, and the

bicycle begins to turn left, creating a centrifugal force that leans the bicycle to the right. Once the

bicycle has begun rolling to the right the rider can turn the handlebars to the right to continue his

entrance into a rightward turn.

Let us now consider a motorcycle traveling at 20 m/s entering a turn with a slow maneuver. The

rider begins the maneuver well before (approx. 14 m) the turn in order to reach the steady state

condition slowly (Fig. 8-16).

Initially the rider applies a torque towards left causing the front wheel to steer towards the same

side (Fig. 8-17). The lateral force generated at the front tire contact point, causes a yaw motion to the

left and the beginning of a roll motion to the right.

Fig. 8-17 Steering angle, steering torque, lateral force, roll and yaw when entering slowly in a turn

(computed with FastBike code).

The vehicle follows a heading toward the left, opposite the direction of the desired trajectory.

After about 5 m from the initiation of the maneuver (at approx. 19 m), the lateral force changes

direction from the outside direction toward the inside of the curve. After an additional 4 m (at approx.

23 m), with the motorcycle already rolled toward the right, the leftwards yaw motion ends and the

motorcycle starts to yaw in the desired direction. Now the path is towards the right.

Now the rider follows the desired path controlling the vehicle with the steering torque. After about

13 m from the initiation of the maneuver (at approx. 27 m) the steering angle changes from left to

right. The motorcycle reaches the steady-state turning condition about 70 m after the beginning of the

maneuver. In the steady state condition the centripetal acceleration is equal to 0.9 g. It is worth noting

that the steering torque value in the steady condition is small with respect to the maximum value of the

torque applied during the entrance phase.

To enter fast in a right-hand turn, the rider applies a quick torque on the handlebars to the left. The

movement of the front wheel around the steering head generates a front tire lateral force that has the

effect of leaning the motorcycle to the right. The gyroscopic effect generated by the front wheel and

the steering rotation also has an important effect on fast entering in a turn. This gyroscopic moment

has the effect of leaning the motorcycle to the right. Once the motorcycle has begun to roll to the

right the rider can slowly turn the handlebars to the right, and the motorcycle enters the turn.

Figure 8-18 shows the motorcycle traveling at 22 m/s and executing a relatively quick entering in a

turn maneuver. The average turning radius of the road is 50 m and the road width is 16 m.

The rider (at approx. 14 m) quickly steers towards the left and the motorcycle immediately yaws to

the same side following a path towards the left. The minimum turning radius in this phase is about

100 m. At the same time the motorcycle starts to roll rightwards. The leftward lateral force reaches a

maximum value of 50 N after about 2-3 m. Its tilting moment with respect to the mass center (height =

Fig. 8-19 Steering angle, steering torque, lateral force, roll and yaw when entering fast in a turn

(computed with FastBike code).

Let us compare this moment with the gyroscopic moment due to front wheel spin-steering motion.

The steering rate reaches its maximum value after about 1 m before the lateral force reaches its

maximum. If the front wheel spin inertia is equal to 0.6 kgm2 the gyroscopic roll moment is about 3.5

Nm.

This moment contributes to the generation of the roll motion due to the fact that it is present since

the initiation of the maneuver while, depending on the relaxation length of the tire, the lateral force

requires more time to reach its maximum value.

Obviously, the gyroscopic contribution becomes more important as the front wheel speed and the

steering rate increase.

This example highlights the out-tracking techniques that consist of entering a right turn steering

for a short time towards the left. The entering phase can be improved by the lateral displacements of

the rider s body into the turn neglected in the previous example. Rider lateral displacement causes the

motorcycle to lean and can be used to reduce the initial counter-steer.

handling

Motorcycle dynamics is a notoriously thorny topic to deal with, mainly due to the following

problems:

first of all the precise description of vehicle kinematics is complex because of the presence of

the steering head;

secondly, depending on the riding conditions, such as speed for example, motorcycles are

naturally unstable vehicles (as we have seen in previous chapters) and the driver s actions are

always needed to provide control;

moreover the personal driving style, the driver s skill and their experience also affect the

vehicles performance.

Thus, it is clear that the whole driver-motorcycle system must be studied if we wish to understand

what design parameters influence the vehicles performance and handling.

A clear way of dealing with the motorcycle dynamics problem is to analyze it using a systematic

approach. This means splitting the rider-motorcycle system into subsystems, as shown in Fig. 8-20. It

is possible to consider three main subsystems.

The driver, who controls the motorcycle via the steering torque, the brake lever, the throttle, and

the movement of his body. These are inputs to the motorcycle system. It is obvious that there exist

some limits on these actions. For example the driver cannot exert an infinite value for the steering

torque, nor may he exert it without some delay.

The motorcycle itself can be considered as being made up of many other subsystems, depending on

the case. For vehicle lateral directional control (usually referred to as lateral dynamics) two

subsystems may be identified:

the steering subsystem, which is a mechanism that transforms steering torque into a lateral force

that acts on the front wheel;

the vehicle subsystem, which is treated as a rigid body and includes the gyroscopic effect of the

wheels, on which wheel-to-ground contact forces are exerted.

Let us suppose that we would like to accomplish a given maneuver such as a U-shaped curve or Sshaped chicane, for example, in the least time possible (minimum time is the objective). The initial

and final positions on the track are known, but there are a lot of possible trajectories that can lead the

vehicle from the starting point to the final one. We are looking for the fastest one, which best exploits

the intrinsic motorcycle characteristics.

Furthermore, let us suppose that we observe only the motorcycle system without considering the

driver s physical and psychological limits such as the maximum torque he is able to apply, or the

maximum steering rate he is able to achieve. This situation corresponds to having a motorcycle

driven by an ideal perfect driver. The best performance that we get from the motorcycle quantifies its

maneuverability. In this sense maneuverability is related to the ability of the motorcycle to do

complex maneuvers in the shortest time possible. If we also consider the driver s performance limits

(we have a real driver riding the motorcycle), the best performance we get from the motorcycle

quantifies its handling. Thus, handling means the ability of the motorcycle to do complex maneuvers

taking into consideration the driver s limits. In other words, a motorcycle, which has better handling

than another, is faster and at the same time the driver can ride it with less physical and physiological

effort.

It is possible to look at the same problem from the safety point of view. In fact, a motorcycle, which

is more maneuverable than another one, is able to accomplish the same maneuver without reaching its

limits, for example the tire adherence limits. This means that some margins remain, for example

additional lateral force is available, that can be used should a dangerous situation arise.

However, the extra effort that the driver has to exert in order to use these leftover margins (for

example the additional tire forces) tells us how easy or how difficult the motorcycle is to drive.

The discussion so far would seem to indicate that with appropriate constraints placed on the system,

maneuverability and handling are intrinsic vehicle characteristics, that qualify not only its best

performance but also how easily the driver realizes this performance.

Another question that may arise when talking about maneuverability and handling is that the

specific trajectory followed, and therefore the forces needed to produce that trajectory, depend on

choices made by the rider. From this standpoint, it would not be entirely correct to talk about

maneuverability as an intrinsic property of the motorcycle. Instead, we should talk about the overall

performance of the motorcycle/rider system. The performance of the system could only be assessed

if we assume a specific model for the rider.

However, on the other hand, it seems equally clear that some motorcycles are intrinsically better

than others, independent of the rider s driving skills. So how can the intrinsic maneuverability of

motorcycles be defined? The answer is to assume a perfect, or ideal rider, capable of choosing the

best possible trajectory for a given vehicle. The best trajectory and the necessary driver action

together are called the optimal maneuver.

Let us see how it is possible to define the concept of the optimal maneuver with an example. Let us

suppose that the desired maneuver is entering a turn where:

the starting state is steady, rectilinear motion;

the desired end state is steady, circular motion characterized by a given turning radius.

To move from the starting state to the end state, the lateral force applied to the front wheel (which

is assumed to be controlled by the rider through the steering) must vary in specific ways over time.

Of course, there are many possible ways of getting the motorcycle to the desired end state, but each

solution is characterized by a different series of inputs over time, which affect the system in different

ways in transit. Of all possible solutions, the only optimal solution is the most efficient one, i.e.,

the one that minimizes a given performance objective.

If the total time required to complete the maneuver is used as the index of efficiency, the optimal

maneuver will be the one that minimizes that objective. In the example, the solution to the problem

(enter a state of steady circular motion as quickly as possible) is given by the time taken to execute

that particular maneuver.

Obviously, the optimal solution will be different for different motorcycles, as will the minimum

time it takes the best possible rider to enter a turn. In short, the performance index associated with the

objective to be optimized during the maneuver (time, in this example) can be used to measure the

performance of the motorcycle, which quantifies the motorcycles maneuverability. If we also add

some constraints on the driver s physical and psychological effort to the objective, the performance

index quantifies motorcycle handling.

(chi cane )

For our first example of applying the optimal maneuver principle, we will look at a motorcycle

following an S trajectory (chicane), as shown in Fig. 8-21.

The following constraints are placed on the problem:

the vehicle must cover the section of track from the centerline at the starting point to the

centerline at the end point;

the starting speed is known, but not the ending speed, since it is determined by the solution for

the maneuver which optimizes the specified performance indices.

The following criteria must all be optimized at the same time, in the order of importance given:

minimize the time to complete the maneuver;

prevent the tire reactions from surpassing the edges of the friction ellipse;

prevent the motorcycle from going over the edges of the track.

Figure 8.21 shows the optimal trajectory solution to the problem as a solid line plotted against a

dotted line indicating the centerline of the section of track. Note how the solution trajectory shaves

the turns without overcoming them.

Fig. 8-22 S trajectory: motorcycle speed, normalized longitudinal force (thrust or braking) and

vertical forces with respect to the weight force.

In Fig. 8.22, note how the speed of the motorcycle decreases before the chicane, and then increases

again at the exit. In other words, the optimal solution calls for braking when entering the first turn

and acceleration when exiting the second.

The vertical reactions exerted on the wheels (Fig. 8-23) illustrate the phenomenon of load transfer,

moving first from the rear end to the front end (braking phase), and then in the opposite direction

(acceleration phase). It is necessary to highlight that in the middle of the chicane, quickly tilting from

one side to the other, the wheel loads diminish for a short time because of centrifugal acceleration

due to roll motion.

Fig. 8-23 S trajectory: steering angle, steering torque, lateral forces, roll angle and roll velocity,

yaw angle and yaw velocity.

The evolutions of the steering torque and of the steering angle illustrate the maneuver carried out

by the rider (Fig. 8-23). Initially the rider steers quickly toward the right in order to move from the

center of the road to the left side of the road. Having reached the left side in about 40 m, the rider

steers leftwards to insert the motorcycle into the first turn of the chicane. The steering angle needed

for equilibrium during the first turn is very small due to the high value of the roll angle. In the middle

of the chicane the quasi-impulsive movement of the handlebars induces the motorcycle to roll quickly

from one side to the other and yaw in the opposite direction.

The exit from the second turn is performed more smoothly compared to the entering phase.

Increasing the driving force causes a gradual increment in the forward velocity and consequently the

increased centrifugal force tilts the motorcycle to the vertical position. In this phase the rider controls

the path to be followed by means of the steering angle.

The figure shows what happens to the lateral forces acting on the tires, which have been

normalized with respect to current vertical load; in other words, it shows the inclination of the

resulting reaction forces on both wheels. This is one of the parameters the optimal maneuver is

designed to control. Note that the ratio of lateral to vertical force reaches maximum values of about

1.5 for both front and rear wheels, and is slightly less pronounced for the front wheel. In this specific

example, therefore, the motorcycle is well balanced because the front wheel and the rear wheel reach

critical grip force at the same time.

In terms of roll angle and roll velocity, Fig. 8-23 clearly shows the motorcycle first leaning over to

the left ( < 0) and then to the right ( > 0), to travel through the first turn, and then back to the left to

complete the second turn. Note that the roll maneuver begins right away when the motorcycle is still

far from the first turn. Anticipating the maneuver reduces the lateral forces on the tires to some extent

and slightly decreases the turning radius of the first turn.

The change in yaw angle and yaw velocity over time shows, especially early on, how complex a

maneuver is required to be to start from an initial state of perfect, steady, rectilinear motion and get

ready for the next maneuver. This transition occurs in an extremely short space of time, in order to

leave as much time as possible for the rest of the maneuver (which is the most important segment).

As a second example of applying the optimal maneuver principle, we will look at a U trajectory

with the same constraints and optimization criteria as above (Fig. 8-24).

The optimal trajectory solution gives relatively little weight to the distance to be kept from the

edges of the track. As a result, the motorcycle tends to travel on a trajectory which minimizes the

curvature (and/or keeps the curvature constant for as long as possible) using the entire road width. In

fact, the motorcycle moves away from the centerline to make a smoother transition where the track

turns sharply at the beginning and end of the arc.

The speed and longitudinal thrust graph (Fig. 8-25) shows the motorcycle braking hard before the

turn and reaccelerating out of it. As in the first example, the vertical force curves illustrate the load

transfer phenomenon caused by initial braking and subsequent acceleration.

Fig. 8-25 U trajectory: motorcycle speed, normalized longitudinal force (thrust or braking) and

vertical forces with respect to the weight force.

The inclination of the resulting reaction forces (Fig. 8-26) again shows the motorcycle traveling

through the U-bend in the track with a nearly steady, circular motion. Here as well, the first part of the

graph shows an initial maneuver towards the outside of the turn.

The roll angle graph in Fig. 8-26 shows that the optimal solution calls for the motorcycle to lean

away from direction of the turn in the first part of the maneuver (entry phase). The motorcycle

then leans over in the direction of the turn and holds steady for almost the entire U.

The graph of yaw angle and yaw velocity shows how the motorcycle travels through the turn

gradually, with a linear increase in yaw angle. It also shows an initial maneuver towards the outside of

the turn as part of the optimal solution.

Fig. 8-26 U trajectory: steering angle, steering torque, lateral forces, roll angle and roll velocity,

In this section the effect of different tire adherence is studied considering a U-turn maneuver. The

other maneuvers are not reported because they show similar conclusions.

Figure 8-27 is very interesting as it shows the different paths followed by a vehicle as the limit of

adherence decreases. As is shown, with reduced adherence the velocity at which the curve is taken

decreases. In this case, it makes more sense to drive straight during braking and acceleration phases

yielding a path with a sharp curve.

If the adherence becomes smaller than 0.5, the trajectory can no longer touch the inner border. In

fact, when adherence is 0.31 the motorcycle goes straight on and touches the external lane border at

very low speed.

Figure 8-28 shows that during the approach with high adherence the motorcycle accelerates while

with low adherence the motorcycle begins to brake immediately. Figure 8-29 shows that decreasing

the adherence decreases the time during which the motorcycle is tilted.

Fig. 8-27 Trajectory comparison carried out with different tire adherence.

Fig. 8-28 Velocity comparison carried out with different tire adherence.

Fig. 8-29 Roll angle comparison carried out with different tire adherence.

8.8 Handl i ng te s ts

In practice defining the motorcycles handling quality is not an easy task because it constitutes an

overall characteristic determined by different components of the vehicle (engine, brakes,

aerodynamics, frame, tires). Moreover, there is a strong subjective involvement in the use and rating

of the motorcycle on behalf of the driver, according to the driving style and sensitivity.

Handling is usually associated with the vehicles response to the control action. First, a prompt

response to the control action is required in terms of lateral acceleration and yaw rate. This property

however must not decrease the stability and the capability of damping the oscillations that might arise

during certain maneuvers. A low sideslip of the motorcycle is also required. A low sensitivity to

external disturbances is needed, as well as a uniform response to the control action at different

speeds, different tires and road surfaces. Finally, constant feedback between the vehicle and the driver

is required, so that the driver is continually aware of the vehicles dynamic state.

Experimental and simulation tests supply useful data for the comprehension of the actual dynamic

behavior of the vehicle. The motorcycle is assumed to be a system with some control inputs (steering

angle or torque, forward velocity) and some kinematic and dynamic outputs. The behavior of the

motorcycle is thus described by the function that links inputs to outputs in performing typical

maneuvers, such as slalom, transient and steady turning, lane change, obstacle avoidance and so on.

The need for different kinds of tests on the motorcycle is a consequence of the fact that it is not

possible to divide a generic trajectory into a simple sequence of curves and straights, because the

commands given by the driver to perform a maneuver also depend on the previous ones. For

example, the commands given (through the steering and the throttle) during a curve of a slalom test

are completely different from those given during a steady turning maneuver performed with the same

speed and turning radius. In addition, the way the motorcycle is driven along a known path is different

from the way it is driven performing the same path for the first time, additionally a premeditated

maneuver is different from an emergency one even though the result is the same (for example, the

avoidance of a known vs. an unexpected obstacle). As a consequence, different tests have to be

planned to study motorcycle behavior in transient and steady state conditions.

The steady state turning test has proven to be an efficient and quantitative way to assess low

frequency and non-transient handling properties of motorcycles and other two-wheelers. Input and

output quantities are indeed constant and the steady state vehicle response ratios and gains can be

measured in a repeatable and useful way.

The quantities describing the driver s control action are the steering torque and the driver lean

angle, since both trajectory (i.e. radius of curvature) and forward velocity are given. In most cases

driver control mainly consists of the steering torque, whereas lean angle and body lateral

displacement can be considered as secondary control inputs (Fig. 8-30).

Vehicle maneuverability and steering behavior can be quantitatively investigated in steady turning

tests.

In general, driver handling feeling is related to the steering effort needed to perform a certain

maneuver. In steady turning such feeling is related to the steering torque necessary to follow the

required path with the given forward velocity. For a good feeling, little torque should be applied to

the handlebar and preferably it should be negative (i.e. away from the curve).

The relation between driver action and vehicle response can be quantified by the ratio between the

steering torque and roll angle:

roll index = /

or between the steering torque and lateral acceleration:

Figure 8-31 shows experimental results in terms of the acceleration index as a function of forward

speed for a sport motorcycle. The acceleration index is mainly negative (i.e. negative steering torque,

away from the curve). Characteristically for a given radius it transitions from negative to positive (i.e.

positive steering torque, towards the curve) as speed increases.

Fig. 8-31 Acceleration index versus velocity for several turning radii.

Negative applied steering torque is preferable because in this situation the motorcycles turning

behavior tends to be stable (Fig. 8-32). In fact, at a sufficient velocity, if the control of the driver is

suddenly removed, the motorcycle after some lateral oscillations tends to follow a straight path

without capsizing (i.e. the capsize mode is stable). On the contrary, with positive torque, if the control

suddenly stopped applying torque the steering angle would decrease and the motorcycle capsizes (i.e.

the capsize mode is unstable).

With regard to motorcycle steering behavior, the ratio between the actual turning radius Rc and the

ideal turning radius Rc0 (i.e. associated with the ideal tire behavior) is considered:

In particular:

<1

under-steering : the actual cornering radius is greater than the ideal one and the motorcycle

tends to run on a larger trajectory (i.e. the front sideslip is greater than the rear);

=1

neutral steering : the actual cornering radius is equal to the ideal one and the motorcycle

follows the kinematic trajectory (i.e. the rear sideslip is almost the same as the front);

>

1

over-steering : the actual cornering radius is smaller than the ideal one and the motorcycle

tends to run on a smaller trajectory (i.e. the rear sideslip is greater than front);

critical condition : the vehicle turns even if the steer angle is null (i.e. = 0 ): this

corresponds to critical speed;

<

0

counter-steering : in this condition the handlebar must be steered away from the curve (i.e.

the rear sideslip is much greater than front and negative steering angle must be adopted to

compensate).

Correlations with expert test riders subjective opinions have shown that the best ratings occur for

vehicles with neutral or modest over-steering properties (this trend is in sharp contrast to typical

results for automobiles, where small amounts of under-steer are universally preferred).

Let us consider an under-steering motorcycle: since the vehicle tends to expand the curve, the rider,

to correct the trajectory, is obliged to increase the roll angle which in turn increases the steering

angle (in order to increase the lateral reaction force of the front wheel). When the rotation of the

handlebar becomes considerable, the reaction force needed can exceed the friction limit between the

front tire and the road surface, with the result that the wheel slides and the rider falls. A motorcycle

that is under-steering is therefore dangerous, since vehicle control is very difficult after the front

wheel has lost adherence. On the other hand, with an over-steering motorcycle, in cases where the

needed reaction force overcomes the maximum friction force between the rear tire and the road

plane, the rear wheel slips, but an expert rider, through a counter-steering action, has a better chance

of controlling the vehicles equilibrium and avoiding a fall.

Figure 8-33 shows the steering ratio as a function of velocity for different turning radii from 10 to

50 m. It can be observed that the sport motorcycle has a well-defined over-steering behavior which

becomes more and more marked as speed increases. Anyway critical speed is not reached and no

counter-steering is evident. Steering ratio fitting has been performed by the simplified expression

where the constant depends on the cornering and camber stiffness of the tires. Critical speed is not

reached experimentally but is extrapolated by linear fitting ( 20 m/s).

Fig. 8-33 Steering ratio versus velocity for several turning radii.

Figure 8.34 shows experimental tests of the sport motorcycle considered above in a speedlateral

acceleration diagram. Zero steering torque ( = 0 ), zero steering torque gradient (/A = 0) and

zero steering angle ( = ) lines are plotted as forward speed and lateral acceleration vary and

different over-steering and counter-steering zones can be identified.

With regard to over-steering, the O1 zone is characterized by negative steering torque, positive

steering torque gradient and positive steering ratio. Based on the considerations of the previous

sections, these conditions are correlated to good handling: the capsize mode is in fact stable, the

steering torque decreases approaching zero as lateral acceleration increases (thus requiring lighter

rider effort as roll angle increases), and favorable over-steering behavior is achieved. It follows that

these combinations of speed and lateral acceleration can be considered a preferable driving zone.

The O2 zone is similar to the previous with the exception that the steering torque gradient is

negative. This means that steering torque becomes more negative (approaching its relative minima)

as lateral acceleration increases, thus requiring greater rider effort as roll angle increases.

The O3 zone is also similar to the O1 but the steering torque is positive. This means the capsize

mode is unstable, thus requiring even more roll stabilization to be achieved by the rider. Even if this

constitutes an inappreciable fraction of the global control being exerted, it effectively makes driving

even more difficult and unsafe. Furthermore in this zone the positive steering torque becomes

unfavorably larger as the lateral acceleration increases, thus requiring greater rider effort to perform

vehicle control at high roll angles.

These three over-steering zones are fully accomplished experimentally.

The C1 , C2 , C3 zones are similar respectively to the O1, O2 and O3 over-steering zones, with the

exception that steering ratio is negative. That is counter-steering angle behavior is achieved (i.e.

steering angle not in accord with turning direction), which may require a certain amount of

experience and skill to be practiced safely and may or may not be perceptible to the rider.

These three counter-steering zones are not accomplished experimentally.

8.8.2 U turn te s t

The characteristics of a motorcycles handling are not defined solely on the basis of the value of

the torque to be applied under conditions of movement on a stationary turn, but also on the basis of

other parameters, such as the torque needed to lean the vehicle to a set angle from the vertical, and the

time used to reach the desired angle.

J. Koch (1978), after experimental tests in U turns, proposed the following index to evaluate the

vehicles capacity to enter a turn:

Where peak is the peak value of steering torque, peak is the peak value of roll velocity, and V is the

forward velocity.

As the forward velocity increases the Koch index tends towards a limit value which depends on the

kind of motorcycle and on the turn radius. It is worth noting that all the peak values are reached in

transient phases and not in steady-state conditions.

A low value of Koch index highlights that with a high forward velocity there is a high roll speed

with a low peak in steering torque; these are the characteristics of motorcycles with good handling.

The transient behavior when entering a turn is mainly influenced by center of mass height, front

wheel inertia, front frame inertia with respect to steering axis, frame inertia with respect to rolling

axis and yaw axis. Figure 8-36 shows Koch index when entering a U turn having a radius equal to

100 m for different types of motorcycles. The figure shows that while increasing the velocity the

Koch tends to a limit. The index highlights and quantifies the fact that it is easier to maneuver with a

light scooter instead of a heavy touring motorcycle.

8.8.3 Sl al om te s t

In steady-slaloming conditions the rider controls the motorcycle through a periodic action on the

steering system and the vehicle reacts with periodic roll, yaw and lateral motion. The slalom

frequency is:

Therefore the slalom test constitutes a study of the forced response of the system, where the

forcing excitation is represented by the steering torque and/or the steering angle. The motorcycles

response changes both in amplitude and phase as a function of speed and slaloming frequency.

Figure 8-38 shows a sample of the acquired signals time histories for a 14 m spacing slalom test

performed at low speed. The steering torque is tendentially opposite to the path curvature.

Figure 8-39 shows the same signals time histories for a slalom test performed at medium speed. At

this particular frequency the steering torque is 180 out of phase with respect to the roll angle. The

steering torque amplitude is almost unchanged if compared to the previous plot.

Figure 8-40 shows the slaloming behavior at high speed. It can be observed that the phase between

steering torque and roll angle shifts to 90. The steering torque amplitude is much increased.

The most suitable mathematical tool to interpret the results of a slalom test is the transfer function,

which makes it possible to describe the system response (roll angle) in relation to the input

Both the amplitude and the phase of roll transfer function are very interesting. High ratio between roll

angle || and steering torque || means that a large motorcycle roll motion is obtained with little

steering effort, while a large phase means that the roll angle follows the steering torque with a time

lag.

Increasing the frequency, that is increasing the speed if the cone spacing is fixed, the motorcycles

need an increased steering effort to follow the slalom path. However, the driver feeling is determined

by the phase lag between roll angle and steering torque rather than the maximum steering torque:

better handling is associated with motorcycles having a quick response to the steering input. Fig. 8-41

shows an experimental transfer function. The magnitude exhibits a maximum value at about 8 m/s

then increases with frequency. The maximum in the magnitude of the roll transfer function

corresponds to the minimum effort on the handlebar; at this velocity the weave mode switches from

the instability to the stability zone.

The lane change maneuver represents a typical transient maneuver, and strongly depends on driver

skill and riding style. Various driving strategies among riders differ from each other depending on

the initial counter-steer carried out and on the movement of the rider s body with respect the

motorcycle.

Expert riders carry out this maneuver with a high initial out-tracking and use their body inclination

to remain vertical or even to generate an additional input with respect to steering torque.

In very fast maneuvers, in reality riders tend to apply not only steering torques (i.e. torques parallel

to the steering axis), but also rolling torques (i.e. perpendicular to steering axis) to the steering

system.

The phase between yaw velocity and steering torque seems to be the quantity more highly

perceived by the rider when carrying out such a maneuver.

Basically the rider imparts some control action, torque, causing the vehicle to roll and yaw. The

ratio of the peak-to-peak magnitude of steering torque to the peak-to-peak roll rate is a good

indicator of a motorcycles maneuverability. Normalizing this quantity by velocity we obtain the Lane

Change Roll Index:

Fig. 8-43 Parameter effects on Lane Change Roll Index for different geometries and speed.

This index represents the effort required of the rider in the form of steering torque to obtain a desired

vehicle response in roll rate. Figure 8-43 shows the results of numerical simulation varying critical

design parameters.

We can see that by orienting the engine in a counter-rotating direction or by reducing the front

wheel spin inertia the value of LC Roll index is decreased. The lower values mean that less effort is

needed to perform the lane change, in this case due to the lesser gyroscopic effects.

Also observe the asymptotic nature of the LC Roll index with speed. At low speeds all four vehicle

configurations are similar but as speed increases we approach a region where the gyroscopic effects

become dominant. In this region the differences between the configurations are obvious. In a similar

manner the LC Roll index can be used to contrast the behavior of different classes of motorcycles:

touring, sport, cruiser, etc. Typically a scooter will exist at or below 1 while a touring motorcycle can

reach or exceed 2.5 N/(rad/s2).

A typical maneuver which causes high roll and yaw speeds is the obstacle avoidance test. In such a

maneuver the gyroscopic effect of the front wheel combined with the roll motion has a fundamental

role in determining the steering torque that has to be applied by the driver.

The gyroscopic effect causes a torque around steering axis whose value is:

In the previous sections we have highlighted that the total steering torque is determined by a lot of

factors acting on the front frame, particularly by vertical and lateral forces. Nevertheless in rapid

maneuvers almost the whole effort applied by the driver opposes the gyroscopic moment caused by

front wheel and roll motion.

This can be easily seen in Fig. 8-45, where the steering torque applied by the driver is compared

with the gyroscopic effect calculated by means of the previous formula.

First of all we observe the out-tracking technique; the driver initially applies a high steering effort

to the right to make the vehicle roll rapidly towards the left. After this, there is a steering torque peak

to the left, corresponding to the necessary rotation of the steering system, and finally a positive peak

corresponding to the final line up of the steering system itself.

The motorcycle handling sensation in such a maneuver is represented by the time lag between the

steering torque and the yaw velocity; the shorter this time lag is, the better vehicle handling is.

8.9.1 Hi gh s i de

This dangerous phenomenon is due to the interaction between the sideslip force with the

longitudinal force applied on the rear wheel. It can happen during a braking maneuver while entering

a curve or during a thrusting maneuver while exiting from a curve. The high side due to the braking

has already been explained in the 2nd chapter with reference to the friction ellipse.

Figure 8-46 shows how the high-side fall due to the driving force comes about. To exit from the

curve the rider starts to thrust the rear wheel, therefore the longitudinal driving force increases as

does the total friction force (phase 1). The total friction force reaches the limit value, the rear wheel

loses grip and therefore the rear of the motorcycle moves outwards (phase 2), The rider stops

accelerating, reducing the thrusting force suddenly, and the rear wheel takes grip again (phase 4), The

large sideslip, which is still present, generates a lateral force impulse that is not balanced. The result

is that the motorcycle is violently twisted and thrown upwards (phase 5).

Tire behavior during a high-side may be better understood by looking at Fig. 8-47, which shows

the available lateral tire force when a longitudinal driving tire force is present. In both diagrams, the

envelope of the families of curves is the friction ellipse. The initial condition is represented by point

A in which a lateral force is present and the sideslip angle is about 1.5. When the driver starts to

accelerate the motorcycle, the point moves in the horizontal direction and the sideslip angle increases

in order to keep the lateral force constant in the presence of an increasing longitudinal force.

Fig. 8-46 Example of phenomenon known as high side due to thrusting maneuver.

Fig. 8-47 Lateral and longitudinal forces for various values of longitudinal slip and sideslip .

The loss of grip takes place at point B when the boundary of the friction ellipse is reached; a large

sideslip angle (of about 5) is present. When the rider releases the accelerator the rear wheel takes

grip again.

The new condition is represented by point C, where there is still a large sideslip angle but where

the longitudinal slip is negligible.

Therefore, the lateral force impulse takes place because the lateral force increases suddenly from

the value of point B to the value of point C. The impulse torque, produced by the lateral force, is not

balanced, consequently the motorcycle falls.

8.9.2 Ki ck back

The so called kick back effect is a phenomenon that concerns motorcycle stability.

Road undulations or transverse joints on the road surface during high speed riding (150-200 km/h)

can unload the front wheel causing it to lift from the road surface (phase 1). When the front wheel is

unloaded the front assembly is not in equilibrium around the steering axis. The rider moves the

handlebar instinctively and the front wheel plane moves out of line with respect to the forward

direction of the motorcycle (phase 2).

When the front wheel makes contact with the road surface again (phase 3) the front frame is not in

equilibrium with respect to the steering axis. Due to the steering angle a large lateral force is

generated. This side force kicks back the handlebar in the opposite direction with respect to the

steering angle (phase 4). Consequently the rider can lose control of the motorcycle with dramatic

effects.

The kick back effect decreases when using front and rear tires with lower cornering stiffness.

Frames with high structural stiffness make the motorcycles behavior worse.

8.9.3 Chatte ri ng

The chatter of motorcycles appears during braking and consists of a vibration of the rear and front

unsprung masses at a frequency in the range 17-22 Hz depending on the motorcycles. It appears

nearly exclusively in the racing motorcycles and only in some tracks and in some kind of maneuvers.

This vibration can be very strong and the unsprung masses acceleration can reach 5 g. It is often

observed that the wheel rotation frequency is close to the chatter frequency, which suggests a tire

nonuniformity; force variation or run-out, or maybe imbalance. This would normally occur in the

mid-corner.

The chatter is an auto-excited vibration and this fact explains why it appears suddenly when the

mechanism of auto-excitation is generated.

The suspensions shock absorbers are not able to damp these vibrations. In the presence of

chattering motorcycle guidance in limit conditions becomes very difficult.

The mechanism of self-excitation of these vibrations is due to the coupling of the rear wheel

unsprung mass resonance oscillations with the fluctuation of the longitudinal frictional force in the

contact patch of the tire. The chatter vibrations begin on the rear and appear almost instantaneously on

the front due to energy transfer from the rear to the front which occurs when the rear and front hop

resonance frequencies are close each other.

Figure 8-50 shows a braking maneuver of a racing motorcycle. The figure highlights that the speed

of the front wheel is less of the rear wheel speed, during the braking. During the braking the rear and

front unsprung masses begin to oscillate at a frequency of about 20 Hz. The oscillations decrease

decreasing the braking rate and disappear completely during the following acceleration phase.

The coupling between the out-of-plane mode weave and the in-plane mode bounce has been

previously analyzed. As we have seen the two modes have similar values for their frequencies and

similar modal shapes.

This phenomenon is visible in some racing bikes when exiting turns during the acceleration phase.

Wide oscillations of the rear frame and movements of the swinging arm are visible. The rider is

inclined to slow down to damp out this phenomenon. Fluctuations of the longitudinal slip, depending

on the angular position of the swinging arm, can increase the bounce and weave coupling.

Structural stiffness of the motorcycle as a whole and of every single component (in essence front

forks, chassis and swingarm) is a key factor in defining the performance with regard to handling and

maneuverability of the motorcycle.

Modern motorcycles have frames, swinging arms and forks stiffer than older vehicles. Beyond

certain values of lateral and torsional stiffness of the frame, the motorcycle stability properties no

longer depend in a significant way on the structural characteristics. High value of stiffness guarantees

precision in the trajectory and quick response to the input of the rider but also presents some

disadvantages.

For example, vehicles with great frame stiffness are sometimes felt to be nervous by the rider,

especially when passing on a transverse bumps and also on wet roads.

Simulation results show that the lateral flexibility of the front fork (or the torsional flexibility of

the upper part of the frame near the steering head) stabilizes the wobble mode at high speed and has

an opposite effect at low speed, whereas the torsional flexibility of the fork does not appear to have a

remarkable influence.

The lateral flexibility of the swinging-arm or of the rear frame slightly stabilizes the weave mode

at very high speed whereas the torsional flexibility of the swinging-arm or of the rear frame has a

contrary effect.

The motorcycle in steady conditions, both in linear motion and when cornering, is subjected to

forces acting in its plane of symmetry whereas in transient conditions it is subjected to lateral forces

applied on the wheel contact point with the road and to inertial forces due to lateral accelerations. As

an example, when the vehicle is in linear motion and encounters a bump inclined with respect to the

surface road, impulsive lateral forces acting on the contact point occur. Consequentially it seems to be

appropriate, when measuring the structural stiffness, to apply forces on the contact point between the

tire and the surface road.

Lateral forces cause deformations of the vehicle that generate lateral displacements of the wheels

and also rotations of the wheel plane. The lateral displacements and the component of the rotation of

the wheel around the vertical axis, cause an increase of the tire sideslip and this increases the damping

of the structural vibration excited.

If, instead, the deformation of the wheel is a torsion, which could be thought as a torsional rotation

about the axis connecting the two contact points with the road, the structural vibration will be less

damped since the rotation of the wheel plane does not increase the damping of the vibration excited.

As a result, it is desirable to have moderate lateral flexibility and a high degree of torsional

stiffness.

Measurement of the stiffness properties may be carried out using many different approaches.

The structure of the motorcycle is excited mainly by the forces generated in the contact patch of the

tires. These forces include: the longitudinal force, the vertical load, and the lateral force. In order to

highlight the actual behaviour the motorcycle, stiffness should be measured by applying the force in

this region, as shown in Fig. 8.52.

Lateral and torsional stiffness, respectively, are expressed by the ratios:

The rotation axis is the intersection of the symmetry plane of the rear assembly with the rear wheel

plane in the deformed position. If the rotation axis is vertical (angle = 0) the deformation is

predominantly the flexural type while if the rotation axis is rather horizontal (angle 90 ) the

deformation is mainly torsion.

The rotational axis close to the rear contact patch (small value of the arm b) means that there is

more plane rotation with respect to lateral deformation. On the contrary the rotational axis far from

the rear wheel (large value of the arm b) means more lateral deformation with respect to rotation.

The values for modern motorcycles, without the compliance of the tire, vary in the range of:

lateral stiffness: Krear = 0.1-0.2 kN/mm

torsional stiffness: Ktrear = 1.5-3.0 kN/

With the engine locked instead of the steering head the concepts remain the same. In this case the

values of the stiffness are larger with respect to the previous.

Fig. 8-52 Loading condition for evaluating torsional and lateral stiffness of the rear assembly of the

motorcycle.

The stiffness of the front frame can be measured as shown in Fig 8-51. Also in this case there are

two possibilities:

lock the steering head,

lock the engine.

In the latter case the upper part of the frame contributes to the deformation of the front assembly.

The inclination of the rotational axis is typically tilted by about 2 towards front of the

motorcycle with respect to a plane perpendicular to the steering axis. Also in this case lateral and

torsional stiffness are expressed by the ratios:

lateral stiffness: Kfront = 0.08-0.16 kN/mm;

torsional stiffness: Ktfront = 0.7-1.4 kN/.

Fig. 8-53 Loading condition for evaluating torsional and lateral stiffness of the front assembly of

the motorcycle.

The torsional stiffness of the rear frame member is generally measured with the engine fitted. It is

calculated about an axis at a right angle to the steering head and passing through the swinging arm

pivot axis and applying a couple (torque) around this axis.

The lateral stiffness can also be represented by the ratio between the force applied along the

swinging arm pivot axis and the lateral deformation measured in that direction. The force can be

applied with an offset in order to avoid torsional deformation.

Lateral stiffness typically varies depending on the type of frame and on the method of engine

attachment.

In some cases the moment is applied on the steering head and the pivot axis of the swinging arm is

locked. There are some small differences in the two different measurement procedures due to the

asymmetry of the frame.

The values of modern motorcycle (sport 1000 cc.) vary in the range:

lateral frame stiffness: Kf = 13 kN/mm;

torsional frame stiffness: Kt f = 3 - 7 kNm/.

vertical frame stiffness: Kz f = 5 - 10 kNmm.

Fig. 8-54 Loading condition for evaluating torsional stiffness of the frame.

Fig. 8-55 Loading condition for evaluating lateral stiffness of the frame.

Fig. 8-56 Loading condition for evaluating longitudinal stiffness of the frame.

The values of swingarm stiffness are in the range:

swinging arm lateral stiffness Ks = 0.8-1.6 kN/mm.

swinging arm torsional stiffness Kts = 1-2 kNm/;

The mono-shock swinging arm is characterized by a greater lateral and a smaller torsional stiffness

compared with the classic swinging arm.

Fig. 8-57 Loading condition for evaluating torsional and lateral stiffness of the swingarm.

The front fork is the most flexible part of the structural motorcycle.

Fig. 8-58 Loading condition for evaluating torsional, lateral and longitudinal stiffness of the fork.

The stiffnesses are in the ranges:

fork lateral stiffness Kff = 0.07-0.18 kN/mm.

fork torsional stiffness Ktff = 0.1-0.3 kNm/;

Example 6

Calculate the lateral and torsional stiffness of a motorcycle (without the tire compliance) which

components have the following values:

Kf = 2.2 kN/mm;

Kt f = 6.0 kNm/;

Ks = 1.4 kN/mm.;

wheel lateral stiffness:

Ks = 0.8 kN/mm.

frame length:

Lf = 0.85 m, Lf = Lf / 3;

swingarm length:

Ls = 0.6 m, Ls = Ls / 3 ;

wheel radius:

Lw = 0.3 m, Lw = Lw / 3 ;

swingarm inclination:

s = 8;

frame inclination:

f = 30;

The equivalent lateral stiffness at the contact point is equal to Krear = 0.16 kN/mm The rotating axis

is inclined, respect to the ground, of an angle equal to 45 and the distance of the rotating axis with

respect to the contact patch is equal to 0.76 m. The torsional stiffness split along the x axis and z axis

are:

and

respectively. In the experimental test the value should be less

because the constraints compliances are not infinitive.

Experimental modal analysis was developed in the aeronautical field during the seventies and

nowadays it has found an application in two-wheeled vehicles.

Fig. 8-60 Structural modes of a modern sporting motorcycle (mass equal to 190 kg).

The modal properties of a structure are independent from the excitation and the acquisition point,

so a series of experimental FRFs (Frequency Response Functions) can be acquired in laboratory,

using an excitation system like an impact hammer with a load cell or a shaker able to generate a

frequency sweep, and an acquisition system that usually includes three-axis accelerometers.

The acquisition points are displaced along the whole vehicle, creating a mesh that can be animated

after that the modal identification (obtained using specific algorithms able to analyze all the acquired

FRFs at the same time) has been performed.

Experimental modal analysis is an important technique that makes it possible to obtain the modal

model of complex structures formed by different parts, like a motorcycle (front and rear frame,

wheels). This model is given as resonance frequencies, damping and eigenvectors, starting from

experimental acquisitions and not from a virtual model like FEM codes.

Figure 8-60 shows the first four structural modes for a modern sporting motorcycle. The first

mode shows lateral bending of both front fork and swingarm in the same direction. The second mode

shows a bending deformation of the rear part of the chassis and of the fork in the same direction;

there is also a remarkable in plane and lateral deformation of the swingarm. The third and the fourth

modes are more complicated and involve bending and torsion of the swingarm, of the fork and of the

rear part of the chassis while the main part of the chassis has smaller deformations.

If we consider the motorcycle as a single rigid body moving in space, subject to translation in the

ground plane and rotations about its roll and yaw axes, a number of interesting observations can be

made.

Motorcycle motion depends on the kind of maneuver and on the riding style. Every maneuver starts

with a variation of the front lateral force generated by the steering motion. If a rightward impulsive

force is applied to the front tire contact point, the motorcycle moves with the following leaning and

yaw velocity:

The roll velocity is negative (leftward motion) while the yawing velocity is positive (rightward

motion). The roll velocity increases if the roll moment of inertia is decreased, while the yawing

velocity increases, if the yaw moment of inertia is decreased. Both velocities increase if the

corresponding products of inertia (in the inertia tensor) become more negative.

Knowing the forward velocity, the yaw velocity, and the roll velocity of motorcycle one can define

a vector quantity know as the Mozzi axis, or the instantaneous axis of rotation for the rigid body. The

Mozzi axis can be used to describe different transient maneuvers made by the motorcycle.

The Mozzi axis (Fig. 8-61) is described in the SAE coordinate system by:

and x is coincident with the bodys center of mass location. The angle that the axis makes with the

ground plane is:

In terms of the rigid body properties the slope of the instantaneous axis of rotation with respect to

the road plane xy is:

The angle increases, increasing the roll inertia and decreasing the yaw one (i.e. less roll motion and

more yaw).

The vertical distance of the axis from the motorcycle center of mass increases, as the roll inertia

increases and product of inertia terms decrease.

People involved in motorcycle design and racing often ask themselves the following questions:

Where is the instantaneous axis of the vehicle in motion?

How do yaw and roll rate combine?

Answers to these questions may be found in a mathematical way by making use of the concept of

the Mozzi axis. The plots derived from the Mozzi axis theory are useful in highlighting the effects of

variations in path, vehicle properties, and riding style.

The geometric loci of the Mozzi trace (the point where the axis intersects the ground plane) and

that of the turn center during a slalom maneuver are presented in Fig. 8-62.

The locus of the turn center is close to a piecewise linear. It is worth highlighting that the turn

center coordinates tend to infinity if the yaw velocity tends to zero. In the sinusoidal slalom this

condition happens when the trajectory crosses the x axis.

The locus of the Mozzi trace is a curve with periodic cusps, which always lie on inner side of the

path. The loci of the Mozzi trace and the turn center show periodic intersection points that take place

when the radius of curvature is close to the minimum value.

Figure 8.63 deals with a motorcycle that is entering a right curve with a counter-steer technique. In

this maneuver the Mozzi axis moves from the outside of the path to the center of the curve.

The yaw rate is negative (counter-yaw) at the beginning of the maneuver and positive during the

rest of the maneuver. The roll rate reaches a maximum after the beginning of the rotation towards the

right and then tends to zero. The Mozzi trace comes from -, because the path is almost straight and

the yaw rate is negative, then it crosses the path when the yaw rate is zero. Finally, in the steady

turning portion of the path, the Mozzi trace tends to coincide with the turn center, because the roll rate

is close to zero.

Nowadays multi-body codes make possible the precise and complete dynamic analysis of a

vehicles operation on the road through the use of computer simulation. MSA (Multi-body System

Analysis) represents the computer study of movements in mechanical systems as a result of the

application of external forces or stresses that act on the system. The spatial systems forming the

subject of the study are simulated with rigid bodies and/or flexible elements connected to each other

with various types of kinematic and dynamic connections. The external forces and resulting reactions

lead to movements of the systems components that satisfy constraint conditions. The MSA codes play

a role whose importance is only destined to increase through the use of modern integrated computeraided design. They make it possible to evaluate and optimize the characteristics and performance of a

product even before the prototype phase, thereby assuring the reduction of development costs and the

systematic evaluation of alternative designs, and especially reducing the time to market for a new

product.

Figure 8-64 illustrates by example a model of a scooter that runs in rectilinear motion along a

roadway and encounters a step. The chassis of the scooter is further affected by the unbalancing force

of the motor.

The computer simulation enables us to represent the characteristics of the springs and the shock

absorbers even with non-linear laws. In the same way, the tires can be modeled employing various

levels of sophistication.

Figure. 8-65 shows a racing vehicle performing a wheelie during acceleration, generated by a high

thrust force. The in-plane modeling can be very accurate and can take account of, for example, the

characteristics of the engine torque, the elastic contribution of the gas present in the shock absorbers,

the slip characteristics of the tires in terms of the load, etc.

Three-dimensional multibody codes have to be used to simulate the operations of the vehicle outof-plane. Since the vehicle is unstable, the model requires a control system both for the equilibrium

of the vehicle and for the execution of the desired maneuver (Fig. 8-66).

Recent advances in both multi-body software and in control strategies and implementation have

yielded models capable of in-depth studies of design changes and parameter variations, which also

provide significant insight into driver technique and skill-level. In the near future the validation of a

particular vehicle designs can be substantiated before any metal has been cut or wheels have been

laced.

L ist of sy mbols

Coordinate systems

(Pr,x,y,z)

mobile triad with the origin in the rear contact point Pr, according to SAE J670

(C,X,Y,Z)

parallel to x axis

parallel to y axis

parallel to z axis

(Ar, Xr ,Yr , Zr )

(Af ,Xf,Yf,Zf)

C

path curvature

path radius of rear wheel

path radius of front wheel

forward velocity

steering ratio

steering angle

i, j

velocity ratio

frequency

Motorcycle parameters

A

an

normal trail

CD

CL

fork offset: distance from the center of the front wheel to the steering axis

moment of inertia of motorcycle about the x -axis through its center of mass (roll inertia)

product of inertia of motorcycle about the x - z -axes through its center of mass

moment of inertia of motorcycle about the y -axis through its center of mass (pitch inertia)

moment of inertia of motorcycle about the z -axis through its center of mass (yaw inertia)

suspension stiffness

motorcycle mass

wheelbase

rp

rc

caster angle

roll angle of the rear frame (camber angle of the rear wheel)

roll angle of the front frame (camber angle of the rear wheel)

bf

hf

distance of the mass center of front frame from the line passing through the rear wheel

center and perpendicular to the steering axis

Gf

kf

mf

moment of inertia of the front wheel

moment of inertia of front frame about the x f -axis through its center of mass

product of inertia of front frame about the xf - z f -axes through its center of mass

moment of inertia of front frame about the yf -axis through its center of mass

moment of inertia of front frame about the z f -axis through its center of mass

br

longitudinal distance of the mass center of rear frame from rear wheel axis

hr

Gr

kr

mr

Mr

moment of inertia of the rear wheel

moment of inertia of rear frame about the xr -axis through its center of mass

product of inertia of rear frame about the xr - zr -axes through its center of mass

moment of inertia of rear frame about the yr -axis through its center of mass

moment of inertia of rear frame about the zr -axis through its center of mass

Ns

Na

normalized dynamic load on the wheel: ratio of the dynamic load to the motorcycle weight

Ntr

FD

Fw

FP

braking force

Fs

MX

overturning moment

MY

MZ

yawing moment

Mt

twisting moment

power

driving force

Sa

normalized driving force: ratio of the driving force to the motorcycle weight

squat ratio:

braking/driving force to the vertical load

braking/driving traction coefficient: the maximum value of the braking/driving force

coefficient

lateral traction coefficient: the maximum value of the lateral force coefficient

at

tire trail

fw

kp

ks

longitudinal slip stiffness coefficient: ratio of longitudinal slip stiffness to the vertical load

cornering (sideslip) stiffness coefficient: ratio of cornering stiffness to the vertical load

camber stiffness coefficient of the tire: ratio of camber stiffness to the vertical load

Ro

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Index

Acceleration

- in rectilinear motion

- index

- traction-limited

- wheeling limited

Aerodynamics

- drag area

- drag force

- lift force

Bounce vibration mode

Braking

- forward flip over

- optimal braking

Camber ang le (see also roll angle)

Capsize

Caster ang le

- definition

- variation

Center of g ravity

Chain transmission

- inclination angle

- squat ratio, angle

Chattering

Comfort

Damping

- optimal ratio

- reduced

- ratio

Directional behavior

- critical velocity

- neutral

- over steering

- under steering

Directional stability

Entering in a turn

- fast

- slow

- U turn

- chicane

Equilibrium

- on a curve

- rear suspension

- rectilinear motion

Force

- aerodynamic

- braking

- camber

- cornering

- contact

- drag

- driving

- lateral in transient state

- lateral

- lift

- longitudinal

- rolling resistance

- sideslip

- transfer load

Forward flip over

Friction ellipse

Gyroscopic effect

- generated by yaw motion

- generated by roll motion

- generated by steering

Handling

- optimal maneuver method

- handling test

- lane change test

- Koch index

- obstacle avoidance test

- slalom test

- steady state test

- U turn test

Hig h side

Kick back

Inertia tensor

In-plane dynamics

Mag ic formula

Maneuverability (see also handling)

Mass center

Motion

- rectilinear

- steady turning

Multi-body codes

Model

- tire

- of motorcycle on a turn

- in plane (1 d. of f.)

- in plane (2 d. of f.)

- in plane (4 d. of f.)

- mono-suspension

- kinematic

- weave (1 d. of f.)

- wobble (1 d. of f.)

- multi-body

Obstacle avoidance test

Offset

Optimal Maneuver method

Over steer

Path

- curvature

- radius

Pitch

- angle

- vibration mode

Preload

Radius

- tire rolling

- path

Road

- power spectral density

- road excitation

- road irregularities

- road slope

Roll

- effective angle

- front wheel angle

- ideal angle

- index

- angle

- motion

Rolling

- rolling radius

- rolling resistance

Scooter suspension

Self-alig nment moment

Shaft transmission

- squat ratio

Shock absorbers

- characteristics

-single, double effect

Sideslip ang le

Slalom test

Slip

- longitudinal

- side(see also sideslip)

Stability

Squat ratio

Squat ang le

Steady turning test

Steering

- critical velocity

- effective angle

- kinematic angle

- angle

- ratio

- neutral

- over

- under

- head height

- torque

Stiffness

- progressive

- reduced stiffness

- degressive

- structural

Swing ing arm

Suspension

- anti-dive suspension

- four-bar linkage suspension

- front suspension

- linkage suspension

- mono-suspension

- preload

- rear suspension

- swinging arm

- Telelever

Telescopic fork

Tire

- camber force

- contact point

- friction ellipse

- lateral force

- lateral stiffness

- longitudinal force

- magic formula

- overturning moment

- relaxation length

- rolling radius

- self-aligning moment

- twisting moment

- vibrational modes

- yaw moment

- sideslip force

Torque

- steering component

- steering torque

Trail

- effective trail

- mechanical trail

- normal trail

- trail of the tire

- variation

Transfer load

- in braking

- in rectilinear motion

Transmissibility

Trim

- in acceleration

- in braking

- in cornering

- squat ratio

- squat angle

- rectilinear motion

Twisting moment

Under steer

Unsprung mass

Vibration

- in plane(see bounce, pitch, wheel hop)

- in cornering

- in straight running

- out of plane(see capsize, weave, wobble)

- structural mode

- tire mode

Weave

Wheel

- velocity in curve

- climbing a step

- contact point sliding

- hop

Wheelbase

- definition

Wobble

Yaw

- tire size effect on yaw

-.tire moment

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